Significant Investment Projects – Provincial agreements [R204(c) – T13]: Agreements and arrangements – International Mobility Program
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
In these instructions “officer” refers to employees of both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Service Agency.
The instructions on this page should be reviewed in conjunction with
- Employer-specific work permits — General processing
- Conditions and validity period on work permits
- Public list of employers who have been non-compliant
In this situation, “province” legally refers to provinces and territories. Therefore, in these instructions, when “province” is used, it refers to both provinces and territories.
“Significant investment project” means a new endeavour in an existing firm’s operations or the entrance of a firm that is beginning operations into a province that will result in a substantial improvement to the provincial labour market or economy, without displacing jobs for Canadians.
IRCC is responsible for assessing proposals from the provinces under the Significant Investment Projects section outlined in their respective foreign worker agreement or its annex. While the criteria for LMIA exemptions for significant investment projects are standard in all foreign worker agreements and their annexes, specific LMIA exemptions are project-based and, as such, will vary from one jurisdiction to another.
On this page
- Documentary evidence
- Specific projects
- Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System
Regardless of the significant investment project, the applicant is eligible if they provide the following documents with their work permit application:
- a provincial letter of support stating
- the name of the significant investment project
- the full name and the date of birth of the individual
- the employer and the job offer information
- employer’s name
- individual’s occupation
- work location
- employment duration
- an LMIA-exempt offer of employment submitted in the Employer Portal (A#######) or through an approved alternate submission (as per the note on the Client screen)
- The information in the offer of employment should match that in the provincial support letter.
Note: Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada under a provincial or territorial agreement pursuant to paragraph 204(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) are required to meet all requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the IRPR.
Microsoft Vancouver (also known as Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre) – British Columbia foreign workers annex
Microsoft Vancouver is a development and training facility opened in Vancouver by the Microsoft Canada Development Centre (Microsoft Canada) in August 2014. Microsoft Vancouver is responsible for the execution of strategically important development projects and therefore represents a significant expansion of Microsoft’s global development footprint. It represents a significant investment by Microsoft in Vancouver that provides new regional job opportunities.
Most foreign nationals working or intending to work at Microsoft Vancouver are subject to the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, including the requirement to obtain an LMIA.
International trainees and core staff who support the global training program at Microsoft Vancouver are LMIA-exempt under the authority of the foreign worker annex of the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement on the basis that
- these trainees are not entering the Canadian labour market or competing with Canadian workers
- the core staff are integral to facilitating the work being done by the global rotational employees
Microsoft international trainees (global rotational staff)
Microsoft Vancouver serves as an international training place for new Canadian and international Microsoft hires who require preparation prior to starting their jobs in various Microsoft facilities around the world. Because they are participating in Microsoft training activities only, international trainees are not entering the Canadian labour market or competing with Canadian workers. The work undertaken by these trainees serves only to enhance their knowledge for their future employment and is not considered to be work that a Canadian could otherwise do.
The Government of British Columbia will issue a signed letter of support to approved employees requesting that IRCC issue a 24-month work permit pursuant to paragraph R204(c).
Note: Although Microsoft’s rotational program generally lasts 18 months, a 24-month work permit may be issued so that the employee may continue to perform rotational program job duties until they are transitioned by Microsoft into a new position elsewhere.
Rotational staff are not eligible for a work permit extension.
Microsoft core staff
Core staff positions are essential to the training of the global rotational employees. The training of new global recruits is a fundamental activity of Microsoft Vancouver and a key driver for its establishment in Vancouver. Without a thriving and sustainable core workforce at the centre, the global rotational employee program could not exist, as there would be little or no development projects on which the rotational employees would be able to gain the necessary experience. Microsoft Canada sponsors some foreign national employees for permanent residence, making them part of the Canadian workforce, ideally well before the expiry of their 36-month work permit. Microsoft Canada and British Columbia are required to demonstrate a meaningful plan to transition foreign nationals recruited for core positions to permanent residence.
To be eligible, applicants must
- have an offer of employment submitted in the Employer Portal where the occupation is in
- the skill type 0 or skill level A or B, if it was submitted before or on November 15, 2022
- Training, Education, Experience and Requirements (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2 or 3, if it was submitted on or after November 16, 2022
Core staff applications must be accompanied by 2 letters: one from Microsoft Canada and one from the Government of British Columbia.
- The Microsoft Canada letter will
- state that the hiring of the core employee contributes to building or sustaining the centre’s capacity to be a robust development centre that can support the training of rotational employees
- outline a plan to transition the employee to permanent residence
- The Government of British Columbia letter will
- outline the province’s concurrence that the position contributes to building or sustaining the centre’s capacity to be a robust development centre that can support the training of the global recruits
- commit British Columbia to nominating the foreign national for permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program as soon as that foreign national is eligible
- request that IRCC issue a 36-month work permit pursuant to paragraph R204(c)
Core staff are eligible to apply for a work permit extension if they have submitted an application for permanent residence that has been not yet been finalized by the Government of Canada, or if an Express Entry profile has been established.
lululemon athletica global headquarters, store support centres and Centre of Training Excellence – British Columbia foreign workers annex
A partnership has been established between lululemon athletica (lululemon) and the governments of British Columbia and Canada to grow its presence in Vancouver by bringing in high-skilled workers to its headquarters, creating a lululemon Centre of Training Excellence and expanding its store support centres. Under the Significant Investment Project (SIP) mechanism, lululemon will hire and attract experts both locally and abroad, who will enable lululemon’s growth within British Columbia, resulting in an overall increase in hires.
The Government of British Columbia will issue a letter of support to approved employees requesting that IRCC issue a 36-month work permit pursuant to paragraph R204(c).
To be eligible under the Significant Investment LMIA-exemption, applicants must have
- an offer of employment submitted in the Employer Portal from lululemon athletica in an occupation under TEER category 0, 1, 2 or 3. The offer must state
- that the worker has a specialized skill and should identify what the skill is
- the location of work duties as the headquarters location, the Vancouver store support centres or the lululemon Centre of Training Excellence in British Columbia
- a letter from the Government of British Columbia
- stating the name of the project and the work location in British Columbia
- outlining the province’s concurrence that the position contributes to building or sustaining lululemon’s operations
- stating that this position has met the criteria of the Significant Investment Project Proposal
- requesting that IRCC issue a 36-month work permit pursuant to paragraph R204(c)
Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System
On the Application screen for employer-specific work permits, enter the information below.
|Field||Selection or input|
|Case type||52– Employer-specific LMIA-exempt applications
|Province of destination||British Columbia|
|NOC||The occupation should be in a TEER 0,1, 2 or 3 category of the National Occupational Classification code.
|Intended occupation||Job title
|Employer||lululemon athletica or Microsoft
Enter “Canada- BC – Significant Investment Project”.
Extensions: Work permit extensions under the Significant Investment Projects LMIA exemption may be permitted according to terms agreed to by IRCC and the respective jurisdiction. A new LMIA exemption work permit support letter from the province is required.
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