International Mobility Program (IMP): Canadian interests – Significant benefit – Mobilité Francophone [R205(a)] (exemption code C16)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

To promote Francophone immigration in Francophone minority communities, as of June 1, 2016, foreign nationals who are destined for a province or territory outside Quebec and qualified under National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B may be eligible for an exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement under paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

Recruitment through a francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and francophone minority communities is encouraged.

Facilitating entry for these workers under the International Mobility Program (IMP) serves to support paragraph 3(1)(b.1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) by encouraging the development of minority official language communities in Canada. Promoting the use of French outside Quebec strengthens and supports the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada.

General criteria

The employer must submit an Offer of Employment, as per section R209.11, before a work permit application is made.

Officers should apply the LMIA exemption code C16 to work permit applications received on or after June 1, 2016, if they are satisfied that the foreign national is

  • destined to work in a province or territory outside Quebec
  • qualified to work in managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades occupations (NOC 0, A or B)

In applying exemption code C16, officers should be satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language of daily use is French; however, the language of work does not have to be French.

Where the officer is not satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language is French, the officer should request an interview or ask the foreign national to provide language results demonstrating an advanced intermediate or higher level in French. For this purpose, applicants should demonstrate that they have obtained a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) of level 7 or higher in the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) or Test de connaissance du français (TCF).

It is strongly recommended that initial exemption code C16 work permit applications be submitted online or via a visa application centre (VAC) overseas.

Foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for an exemption code C16 work permit at a port of entry (POE) or from within Canada after entry should be prepared to include their language results in their work permit application. If the applicant cannot satisfy an officer that they meet this eligibility consideration, the work permit application may be refused.

Relevant instructions for border services officers can be found in the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) internal operational bulletins.

Employer compliance fee

Regulations for the IMP provide that, when hiring LMIA-exempt foreign workers, employers must pay an employer compliance fee and submit an Offer of Employment to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Some employers may be exempt from paying the employer compliance fee under subsection R303.1(5). However, despite the fee exemption, these employers must submit an Offer of Employment.

A work permit application will be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) if the employer has not

  • paid the employer compliance fee, as per section R303.1, unless the employer has been exempted from paying the fee under subsection R303.1(5)
  • submitted an Offer of Employment, as per section R209.11

A refund of the employer compliance fee may be initiated if

  • the work permit application is refused
  • the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit, and the work permit application is therefore refused

Instructions on allocating employer compliance fees for LMIA-exempt work permits in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) can be found in CBSA Operational Bulletin OPS-2018-15.


Renewals of these work permits, including for applicants who hold a valid work permit under the discontinued exemption “Significant benefit – Francophone destined to work outside Quebec”, may be submitted to the Case Processing Centre in Edmonton (CPC-E). Because a determination of whether or not the applicant’s habitual language of daily use is French has to be made at the time of initial application, a reassessment of the language is not required upon renewal. However, the officer at the CPC-E still has the option to refer the case to a local IRCC office for further follow up.

Exemption code C16 work permit extension requests should be submitted directly to IRCC online or to the CPC-E. The initial guidelines must still be met, and the applicant must continue to be employed in applicable NOC 0, A or B occupations outside Quebec.

Work permit duration

Officers may issue an LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for the duration of the offer of employment or until the expiry of the travel document or biometrics, whichever is earlier.

Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)

Under the “Application” screen, officers should confirm the following:

Note: If the employer is authorized to use an IMM 5802 form instead of completing the offer of employment through the Employer Portal, the officer may need to enter some of the follow codes.

  • “Case Type”
  • “Province of Destination”
    address of physical job location

    Note: If there is more than one location, officers should enter the primary location in the “Province of Destination” field and the secondary location in the “Remarks” field.

  • “City of Destination”
    address of physical job location

    Note: If there is more than one location, officers should enter the primary location in the “City of Destination” field and the secondary location in the “Remarks” field.

The following information is pulled from the LMIA-exempt offer of employment

  • “Exemption Code”
  • “NOC”
    NOC code
  • “Intended Occupation”
    job title
  • “Salary”
    amount per year as indicated wage in Canadian dollars and number of work hours
  • “Employer”
    business operating name

Family members

  • Spouses and common-law partners of exemption code C16 applicants coming to Canada as foreign workers may themselves be authorized to work without first having an offer of employment. A dependent spouse or common-law partner is eligible to apply for an open work permit under the LMIA exemption code C41 if the exemption code C16 principal foreign worker
    • holds a work permit that is valid for a period of at least 6 months
    • physically resides or plans to physically reside in Canada while working
  • Spouses and dependants are eligible for an open study permit if the principal applicant has obtained their initial work permit in writing before entering Canada.
  • In-Canada minor children of the principal applicant may be exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit. For guidance on specific requirements regarding obtaining a study permit for minors, see Study permits: Guidelines on minor children.
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