Employer-specific work permits with Labour Market Impact Assessment exemptions (International Mobility Program)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

How to process work permits that have a specific employer and are exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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Important information

For LMIA-exempt, employer-specific work permit applications, the employer is required to use the Employer Portal to submit the offer of employment directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before the foreign national makes an application for a work permit. Officers must not issue a work permit if the offer of employment has not been received by IRCC [paragraph R200(3)(f.1) and section R209.11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)].

Exception: Certain employers, including all of the following, are exempt from the compliance regime requirements:

  • foreign governments
  • international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
  • foreign missions (embassies or consular generals) in Canada where the foreign national is not accredited by Global Affairs Canada
  •  international bridge or tunnel authorities with foreign employees working on Canadian soil

Applications for these employers will not have an offer of employment in the system (that is, submitted electronically through the Employer Portal). Officers should follow the processing instructions for exemptions from the compliance regime.

The work permit application is the second step in the employer compliance regime. It is important that the offer of employment be correctly reviewed to ensure that there are no issues if a compliance inspection is initiated. If, during a compliance inspection, the information provided is determined to be inaccurate, it could result in the revocation of the work permit.

Important: The offer of employment information submitted by the employer is not vetted or verified by any section of IRCC before work permit application processing.

Matching the offer of employment to the work permit application

The LMIA-exempt offer of employment status remains “pending” in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) until the work permit application is received; the offer and application are matched based on the passport number and the citizenship.

Note: The validations in GCMS require that the biographical information included in the offer of employment exactly match the passport and citizenship information provided by the work permit applicant in order for GCMS to match them. This includes hyphens, accents, spaces, capitalizations and numbers on all sets of documents.

Once they have been matched, the status changes to “matched.” If the status is “withdrawn,” the employer has withdrawn the offer. See the section Withdrawal of the offer of employment prior to work permit issuance for further instructions.

The process of matching (linking) the work permit to the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt offer) ensures all of the following:

  • that officers can determine if the employer has previously had foreign workers for the wages, occupation and working conditions assessment (viewable in the “Associations” tab on the “Organization” screen)
  • that the offer of employment information is easily viewable on the “Case” screen under the Employment Details” tab
  • the automatic allocation of the employer compliance fee
  • that the correct employer name and occupation information are entered on the work permit
  • that the validation to block the issuance of work permits to ineligible employers exists
  • the ability for inspections to be conducted

Important: When the applicant selects the work permit type “Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment” on the application, the “Case Type” field is set automatically in GCMS as “52.” This case type should not be changed to anything else for employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit applications that require an offer of employment. No other case type will allow the correct linking in GCMS. Changing the case type to anything other than “52” will negatively impact the integrity of financial and program data in GCMS and may result in blocking the department’s ability to inspect employers.

When the offer is correctly matched with the work permit application, GCMS will automatically populate the following fields and allocate the compliance fee automatically:

  • LMIA-exemption code
  • Employer name
  • Occupation title
  • NOC code

Officers can review the information in the “Employment Details – LMIA-exempt” tab on the “Case” screen and confirm that it is fully and accurately complete [R209.11]. Officers can also review the “Fees” tab to confirm that the employer compliance fee (if applicable) has been paid.

Un-matching the offer from one application, then matching it to another

Once a work permit has been issued (that is, printed) based on the offer of employment, the offer cannot be reused to support any additional work permits (for example, renewals). However, if the final decision has not yet been made on the work permit application with which the offer is matched, the offer can, if necessary, be un-matched and then matched to a new work permit application.

Example

A person applies for an extension of their work permit using the online application, and the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is automatically matched to the work permit application. The person leaves Canada and submits a new work permit application on re-entry. The border services officer can un-match the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number from the online application and match it to the new work permit application created at the port of entry (POE), allowing the officer to correctly issue the work permit.

Officers should ensure the employer compliance fee is de-allocated from the incorrect application and allocated to the new work permit.

The original application for an extension should be refused (not cancelled or withdrawn), as there is no longer a supporting LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

Electronic submission versus alternate submission of the offer of employment

Electronic submission (Employer Portal)

On successful submission of the offer of employment through the Employer Portal, an offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is generated for the employer to see. The employer must provide this number to the foreign national for inclusion in their work permit application form.

To ensure that the requirements of paragraph R200(3)(f.1) are met for an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit, officers should confirm both of the following:

  • that a valid offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number (A#######) is provided with the work permit application(or entered into the “LMIA/LMIA Exempt #” field in GCMS)
  • that the employer compliance fee activity has been generated by GCMS under the “Fees” view tab or the employer has provided proof of fee exemption (found in the “eDocs” view tab in the “Organization” tab)

When the offer has been matched, the offer details should appear under the “Employment Details – LMIA exempt” view tab. Officers can then review the offer of employment information or link to the employer information to confirm both of the following:

Officers must review this information and ensure that the employer has provided sufficient information to assess the requested LMIA exemption and the genuineness of the employer. The officer must assess whether the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the offer of employment information.

If the “Employment Details” view tab does not automatically populate

Where the “Case Type” field is set to “52” and the “LMIA/LMIA Exempt #” field is populated but no information populates the “Employment Details – LMIA Exempt” view tab, it may be because of either of the following:

  • the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is incorrect or does not exist
  • the passport number and citizenship do not match between the offer of employment and the work permit application (any difference, such as a hyphen or an incorrect letter or number, will stop the validation)

Verifying if the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is valid

The following are queries to use to verify if the offer of employment is valid:

  • Query in the “LMIA Exempt” screen tab by using the LMIA exemption number or the family and given names plus the business operating name, review the information for the specific LMIA-exempt offer or click on the hyperlink on the “Organization ID” and review all offers for that organization in the “Offer of Employment” view tab.
  • Query for the “Organization ID” and check the LMIA-exempt number or the employee name under the “Offer of Employment” view tab. In the “Organizations and Entities” screen tab, employers who have submitted their offer of employment form through the Employer Portal are listed as follows:
    • type: Organization
    • sub-type: Regulatory Employer or Regulatory Employer — Branch

Verifying the match between the offer of employment and the work permit application

Officers can verify if the passport and citizenship details in the offer of employment are exactly the same as the work permit application by doing either of the following:

  • querying the LMIA-exempt number in the “LMIA Exempt” screen tab
  • navigating to the “Organizations & Entities” screen tab under the “Offer of Employment” view tab

The officer should then review this information in the “Worker Information” section against what is provided in the work permit application.

If the passport and citizenship information in the offer of employment does not match the passport provided by the foreign worker, the processing officer can do either of the following:

Important: The officer should not change the “Case Type” to anything other than “52” just to get around the validation.

Further instructions on reviewing the offer are found in Reviewing the offer of employment information.

Alternate submission

In rare situations, employers who experience technical difficulties that cannot be resolved by IRCC within the service standard or who are unable, because of a physical or mental disability [R209.11(3)], to provide the information using the electronic system may be authorized by the department to submit the “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)” form [IMM 5802] using an alternate method.

Note: Only the IRCC Immigration Program Guidance Branch and the Client Experience Branch may authorize the alternative submission. No employee of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or any other branch of IRCC is authorized to do so.

The IMM 5802 form must never be used by employers without the permission of IRCC. Employers must always contact the Employer Portal mailbox first to provide information on their technical issue or disability in order to obtain authorization for alternate submission. This requirement ensures consistent program integrity.

When authorization is given, the following applies:

  • the employer is provided with the IMM 5802 form for completion
  • the employer is provided with instructions on paying the fee online
  • the person who gave the authorization places a note in the “Client” screen in GCMS indicating that the employer has been authorized to submit the IMM 5802 form for a specific foreign national

Confirmation by the processing officer that alternate submission was authorized:

Where no offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is included in the work permit application and the LMIA-exempt number cannot be found in GCMS, officers should confirm all of the following:

  • a “Client” is available on the “Client” screen indicating that the employer has been authorized to use the IMM 5802 form for the specific foreign national
  • a copy of the completed IMM 5802 form is included with the work permit application
  • the receipt number for the employer compliance fee is valid or the employer has indicated a fee exemption (this information is captured separately from the work permit processing fee information in the “Fees” view tab in GCMS)

Once the existence of the “Client Note” has been verified, officers should review the information in the “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)” form [IMM 5802] as per the instructions found in Reviewing the offer of employment information.

Note: Where the foreign national is submitting the work permit application with the authorized IMM 5802 form and the employer payment receipt, the “Case type 20” and A9999999 may be used as the LMIA-exempt number. These steps should not be used as a method of circumventing the validations in GCMS.

Allocation of the employer payment receipt number

If the receipt number is not available for use in GCMS, there are three possible reasons:

  • the employer entered the number incorrectly
  • the receipt has been allocated to another work permit application
  • the receipt number and/or the IMM 5802 form are not genuine

Before November 2015, employers may have paid multiple employer compliance fees as a batch on one receipt. To find the payment number for association in the work permit application, the Integrated Payment Revenue Management System (IPRMS) receipt number should be queried in the GCMS “Payments” screen tab.

Reviewing the offer of employment information

Officers should review the information in the “Employment Details - LMIA-exempt” view or the IMM 5802 form to ensure that the offer of employment is complete, that the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the “Job Details” section (or the “Details of Job” section on the IMM 5802 form), that the offer meets the genuineness requirements in subsection R200(5) and that the employer is not ineligible. Officers are also required to ensure that the employer paid previous temporary workers what was provided in their offer.

The officer should ensure that the “Main duties of the job” field contains the same duties as those listed under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for the occupation selected. The duties listed on the offer of employment can include duties from a lower skill level in the same skill type but not from a higher skill level in the NOC matrix. It would be reasonable to assume that a temporary worker may at times perform duties at a lower skill level, but not at higher level. Performing higher level duties could compromise a temporary worker’s eligibility for the particular LMIA exemption being requested, and higher-level duties should be compensated at a higher rate.

For example, a housekeeping manager (NOC code 6312) could include the cleaning duties of a housekeeping attendant (NOC code 6731), but not the other way around.

Variance in duties

If there are any differences between the duties listed under the NOC code and those listed in the offer, the officer may do any of the following:

  • confirm that the duties are from a lower skill level in the same skill type
  • clarify with the employer that the correct occupation was selected and change the occupation in the work permit application based on information provided by the employer
  • refuse the work permit application under paragraph R200(3)(a), as the foreign national may not be able to conduct the duties in the offer

Note: If the officer makes changes based on their contact with an employer, they must receive the instruction to make those changes from the employer in writing, and they must add the instruction to the case notes to ensure that during an inspection, the correct information is inspected.

Completeness of the offer of employment

If the offer of employment is incomplete, or if the employer has only entered “see attached” in any of the fields of the offer, the officer may do the following:

  • contact the employer to request that they resubmit the offer of employment through the Employer Portal with the full and correct information
  • refuse the work permit application, as they cannot be satisfied that the LMIA exemption requirements have been met, that the offer is genuine or that the foreign national may be able to meet the requirements in the offer

There is no ability for the employer to attach documents in the Employer Portal; therefore, indicating “see attached” is the same as not completing all the fields as required under section R209.11.

Where the officer contacts the employer and requests that a new offer of employment be submitted, the officer should take the following actions:

  1. de-allocate the incorrect payment associated to the incorrect offer from the work permit application, in the “Fees” view tab (sub-applet)
  2. change the status of the incorrect offer from “pending” to “withdrawn” in the “Organization & Entities – Offer of Employment” tab or in the “LMIA-Exempt” screen tab
  3. ensure the refund of the incorrect offer is initiated by checking that the status of the payment activity is set to “refund request” and completing any further refund actions
  4. enter the new offer of employment number into the work permit application’s “LMIA/LMIA-exempt” field and ensure that it is matched

If the information in the work permit application does not match the information provided by the employer (for instance, worker documentation indicates a different LMIA exemption or the wages or locations are different), the processing officer can do either of the following:

  • contact the employer directly using the contact information provided in the specific offer of employment and request further information
  • assess the work permit application as received and make the final decision

At the POE, if the worker is otherwise admissible, the border services officer may consider furthering the examination in order to provide time for the employer to provide the completed offer of employment. Once the new offer of employment is completed and received by IRCC, the border services officer can continue to process the work permit application.

Changes between the offer of employment and the work permit application

Note: In general, officers should not change any information provided by the employer, as the employer is expected to ensure that the information included in the offer of employment is accurate. Any change by IRCC or the CBSA to the information provided by the employer, without the employer’s knowledge and consent, renders subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) unenforceable, as the information is no longer provided by the employer and cannot be verified as accurate.

Officers should not request information pertaining to the offer of employment directly from the foreign worker, as only information provided directly from the employer can be inspected.

If the officer requests information directly from the employer and based on the information received, information in the offer is changed (for instance, the LMIA exemption code), they must notate the employer’s response in the case notes so that the Case Management Branch is aware that the change was approved by the employer at the time of inspection.

Changes authorized for the processing officer without contact with the employer

LMIA exemption codes: The LMIA exemption code is automatically populated when the employer selects the LMIA exemption title from a dropdown menu in the Employer Portal. At times, the employer selects the wrong LMIA exemption in error but writes the correct explanation in the “Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested” field. Officers should first assess the explanation to ensure that it matches the LMIA exemption code selected. If it does not, the information provided in the “Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested” field should be used to determine the correct exemptions.

Passport number: The employer is required to input the foreign national’s passport number into the offer of employment. The passport number and country of citizenship are validated against the same information provided in the work permit application. This is a requirement that ensures that the foreign national specified in the offer and the foreign national submitting the work permit are the same individual. There may be instances where the validity of the passport provided by the employer does not cover the full duration of the offer but the foreign national is in the process of obtaining a new passport.

Once the identity of the work permit applicant has been validated, processing officers may update the passport information in GCMS so that the work permit may be issued for the full duration of the offer.

Concerns regarding the genuineness of the offer of employment [R200(5)]

If the officer has concerns regarding the employer or the genuineness of the offer of employment, the officer may request further information directly from the employer as per the contact information supplied in the offer of employment. Subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) provides officers with the authority to request information from employers without having to use the foreign national applicant as a conduit for that request.

For further instructions regarding genuineness reviews or the assessment of past compliance with the requirement on wages, occupation and working conditions, see Assessing the genuineness of the offer of employment on work permit application [R200(5)] or Review of wages, occupation and working conditions provided to previous temporary workers.

Important: Subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) makes it a condition that employers demonstrate that any information they provided under subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) or section R209.11 is accurate. Information provided by or requested from the foreign national is not “provided by the employer” and is therefore not included in the information that can be inspected for accuracy. The employer’s contact information should be included in the offer of employment form provided by the employer, as per section R209.11. The method of contact (for instance, email, regular mail or fax) should be determined by individual offices according to their internal procedures.

No offer of employment information or employer compliance fee submitted

The IRPR state that when hiring LMIA-exempt foreign workers, employers must pay the employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment to IRCC.

Note: Some employers are now exempt from the entire compliance regime and may not have an offer of employment.

Fees and refunds

Employer compliance fee exemptions

Employers who are exempt from the fee requirement under subsection 303.1(5) are required to upload “proof of fee exemption” in the Employer Portal if they indicate they are fee exempt.

If there is no corresponding fee payment (listed in the “Payment” view tab) for an offer of employment, the employer should have provided proof of their fee exemption.

The proof of fee exemption document may be found in the “eDocs” view tab. Officers should confirm that no fee exemption was indicated and no fee payment was made before refusing under paragraph R200(2)(f.1).

Refunds

A refund of the employer compliance fee must be initiated according to the IRPR in either of the following situations:

  • the work permit application is refused
  • the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permitFootnote i , and the work permit application is therefore refused

In addition, in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Administration Act, a regulatory fee cannot exceed the cost of the service. Therefore, if a work permit application is withdrawn before the issuance of the work permit, the employer compliance fee must be refunded, since IRCC could not inspect the employer and the regulatory fee therefore exceeds the cost of the service.

Refusal of the work permit application

If a work permit application is refused, a refund of the employer compliance fee should be initiated by the processing office in accordance with the standard guidelines.

If the work permit is refused at the POE, the border services officer should create a work permit application in GCMS but should not match it with the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number. This leaves the offer as “pending” and ensures that the employer can trigger the refund by withdrawing the offer of employment in the Employer Portal once their worker has informed them of being refused.

Withdrawal of the offer of employment before work permit issuance

Employers can withdraw only offers of employment that have not yet been matched with a work permit application. Once a work permit application is matched with the offer, the employer must email the Employer Portal mailbox indicating that they wish to withdraw.

If the offer status remains “pending,” employers may withdraw their offer of employment directly from their Employer Portal account. This will change the status of the offer of employment from “pending” to “withdrawn.”

Work permit application has been matched, but not yet approved (no letter of introduction or work permit issued)

The employer must email the Employer Portal mailbox to withdraw an offer of employment that has already been matched to a work permit application.

To ensure that the work permit is not approved erroneously, the Employer Portal mailbox team will do both of the following:

  • add a case note to the work permit application indicating the employer’s withdrawal (copy and paste the employer’s email)
  • contact the processing office to inform them of the withdrawal of the offer of employment

If the offer of employment is withdrawn or cancelled after a work permit application is received, the processing office should do both of the following:

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permit
  • refund the employer compliance fee as per the standard guidelines for IPRMS receipts

A template letter titled “Employer Compliance refund to employer” is provided in the “Temporary Residents” GCMS templates folder for use by processing offices.

POE considerations

Case type 52: GCMS automatically populates this case type. Changing it to anything else is not necessary.

LMIA/LMIA Exempt number: The foreign national should be in possession of the offer of employment (LMIA exempt) number. It is normally seven digits that begin with “A”. Officers should enter this number at the time of case creation.

If an officer matches the LMIA-exempt number and then creates a new work permit application, they must remove the LMIA-exempt number and de-allocate the fee from the incorrect work permit application, then enter the LMIA-exempt number into the new application and ensure the employer compliance fee is allocated as well.

Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested: Officers must review this to ensure the correct LMIA exemption code was selected and to ensure that the requirements of an LMIA exemption are met.

Employer name: This will automatically populate from the offer of employment. This ensures a consistent formatting of organization names.

NOC Code: This will automatically populate from the offer of employment and should not be changed.

LMIA-exemption title/code: The title of the code is selected from a dropdown menu and the code is then automatically populated in the Employer Portal. At times, the selection may not match what is specified in the “Explanation” field.

Refusals: If the work permit is refused at the POE, the border services office does not generally create a work permit application in GCMS and match the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number. This leaves the offer as “pending” and ensures that the employer can trigger the refund by withdrawing the offer of employment in the Employer Portal.

However, if the work permit application is created in GCMS, the border services officer should remove the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number before refusing and closing the case so that it may be withdrawn by the employer. A case note indicating the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number could be added.

Work permit application approved at a visa office (letter of introduction provided) but work permit not issued (POE)

If the offer of employment is withdrawn or cancelled after the approval by a visa office but before work permit issuance at the POE, the border services officer should do both of the following:

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permit (this should be reflected in GCMS)
  • inform the approving office (that is, the visa office) of the refusal so that the visa office may initiate a refund of the employer compliance fee
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