International Mobility Program: Humanitarian reasons [R208]

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

Destitute students

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption code: H81

This exemption applies to foreign students who, due to circumstances beyond their control, may find themselves unable to meet the cost of their studies in Canada, be it their day-to-day needs or their tuition.

While academic institutions do grant some leeway on obligations such as tuition and residence fees, working may be the only solution for students to subsist in these circumstances.

Section 208 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides the opportunity for students to cover such difficult financial periods, should on-campus employment provided for under R186(f) prove to be insufficient.


Each case should be considered on its own merit. Some cases will be self-evident such as cases of war, upheaval in home country, collapse of the banking system, etc., while others will require further explanation by the applicant, usually at an interview with an immigration officer.

An open work permit may be issued for the purposes of short-term relief only, and should coincide with the duration of the current term of study (not for the duration of the entire program of studies, or for the duration of the study permit).

For further information, see Assessing medical requirements.

Temporary resident permit holders

LMIA exemption code: H82

This exemption applies to persons who have been issued a temporary resident permit (TRP) to allow them to stay in Canada. If the TRP holder will be in Canada for a long period of time (six months or greater), and they have no other means of support (meaning no family support or other means of meeting their needs) they may be issued a work permit.

In the case of permit holders who were refused the application for landing, and who are waiting to become eligible for permanent residence, officers need not be too rigorous in determining whether applicants need to work because they have no other means of support.

The integration of future permanent residents will be assisted by allowing them to work.

An open work permit may be issued that coincides with the validity period of the TRP.

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