Work permit issuance prohibitions

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

Once an officer has assessed that a foreign national is eligible to apply for a work permit (Step 4), they must determine if there exist any prohibitions on the issuance of the permit (Step 5).

Subsection 200(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) specifies the situations where an officer must not issue a work permit. These situations are outlined below.

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Unable to perform work

If the officer believes for any reason that the foreign national will not be able to perform their duties, they must not issue the work permit based on reasonable grounds [R200(3)(a)].

The officer must assess whether the foreign national meets the job requirements, including experience, education, language, training and any other elements as specified in the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or the LMIA-exempt offer of employment, and whether there are any other factors that may prevent the foreign national from being able to perform the duties of the position.

An officer only requires reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national will be unable to perform the duties of the job.

Attestation of issuance of a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)

If a foreign national intends to work in Quebec, they must hold a CAQ [R200(3)(b)] in either of the following cases:

  • when an LMIA is required
  • if the laws of Quebec require it

In general, if the foreign national is LMIA-exempt or if the duration of work is less than 30 days, no CAQ is required. In addition, Quebec does not require a CAQ for unpaid internships. Officers can determine when a CAQ is required by reviewing the information on the Quebec cases page.

The processing officer must ensure that where the foreign national is destined for Quebec and the employment is not LMIA-exempt, the employer has obtained both a valid LMIA and a CAQ.

Adversely affect labour dispute

A work permit should not be issued if the work that the foreign national intends to perform is likely to adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute in progress or the employment of any person involved in the dispute [R200(3)(c)]. Employers cannot use temporary workers as strike-breakers.

There are a few exceptions to this regulation. See Foreign workers: Assessing in the event of a strike situation for further information.

If the temporary worker would become a strike-breaker after being issued a work permit, the officer must not issue the work permit.

Does not meet Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) requirements (R112 repealed)

LMIAs for employers to hire foreign nationals in the formal LCP were capped at 0 on November 30, 2014. Section R112 has since been repealed [R200(3)(d)].

Note: Only foreign nationals who currently hold a work permit as a live-in caregiver may have their work permit extended under the LCP.

Unauthorized work or study

There are several factors that could be applied under paragraph R200(3)(e). Only 1 of the following factors [R200(3)(e)(i) to (iv)] needs to apply for the officer to refuse the work permit.

(i) Unauthorized work or study and 6 months not elapsed

As per subparagraph R200(3)(e)(i), the officer should not issue a work permit if either of the following applies:

  • the foreign national worked or studied in Canada even though they never held a previous work or study permit, nor were they authorized to work [R196]
  • the foreign national worked or studied in Canada under authorization but did not comply with the imposed conditions [R200(3)(e)(ii)]

The officer may issue a work permit as long as 6 months have passed since the foreign national stopped their unauthorized work or study.

Note: Under subsection R182(1), officers may reinstate or restore the status of temporary residents who have failed to comply with subparagraphs R185(b)(i) to (iii) only if they have met the following restrictions:

  • they have not been out of status for more than 90 days
  • they have not otherwise failed to comply with the specified conditions of their stay

(ii) Failed to comply with more than 1 imposed condition

As per subparagraph R200(3)(e)(ii), if the foreign national has failed to comply with a condition of a previous permit or authorization, unless the study or work was unauthorized only because the foreign national did not comply with conditions imposed under paragraph R185(a), subparagraphs R185(b)(i) to (iii) or paragraph R185(c). Paragraphs R185(d) and (e) are not included in these exemptions.

If the foreign national did not comply with only 1 imposed condition, a work permit can be issued as long as they have applied for restoration of their temporary resident status.

However, if the foreign national did not comply with more than 1 imposed condition, they may not be issued a work permit under paragraph R200(3)(e).

See Conditions and validity period on work permits for more details.


A temporary worker was authorized to work for employer A as a waiter until July 15, 2017, and continued working beyond July 15 without applying for a new work permit.

If the foreign national otherwise meets eligibility and admissibility requirements, they could be issued a new work permit without waiting for 6 months to elapse.

However, if the temporary worker was authorized to work for employer A as a waiter until July 15, 2017, and on August 15, 2017, they began working for employer B as a waiter, their work is considered “unauthorized” and they must wait for 6 months to pass since the day the work for employer A stopped before a work permit can be issued.

(iii) Refugee claimant or unenforceable removal order

As per subparagraph R200(3)(e)(iii), if the foreign national is applying for a work permit under the LMIA exemption (section 206, refugee claimant or unenforceable removal order), it does not matter if they previously worked or studied without authorization or did not comply with a condition. The officer may issue a work permit as per Applicants with no other means of support [R206].

(iv) Temporary resident permit issued

As per subparagraph R200(3)(e)(iv), a new work permit may be issued to a foreign national who worked or studied without authorization or failed to comply with a condition only if all of the following apply:

  • the foreign national was issued a temporary resident permit to overcome that loss of status [A47], inadmissibility or failure to meet a requirement
  • all other requirements for the work permit are met

Vulnerable workers: Non-application of paragraph R200(3)(e)

Per subsection R200(3.1), paragraph R200(3)(e) does not apply to migrant workers referred to in subsection R207.1(1), who have engaged in unauthorized work or failed to comply with a condition. In other words, officers who have reasonable grounds to believe the migrant worker is experiencing abuse or is at risk of abuse in the context of their employment in Canada should not refuse to issue the open work permit on the basis that the migrant worker has engaged in unauthorized work or has not complied with a condition.

For more details, see Open work permits for vulnerable workers.

Compliance with federal-provincial agreements

As per paragraph R200(3)(f), for a foreign national referred to in subparagraphs (1)(c)(i) to (iii), the issuance of a work permit is inconsistent with the terms of a federal-provincial agreement that apply to the employment of foreign nationals.

This paragraph refers to a work permit issued under an LMIA exemption that does not respect a federal-provincial agreement.

If there are specific arrangements regarding work permits with a province as part of their Canada-province immigration agreement, the officer must ensure that they are not assessing more or less than specified in the agreement.

No offer of employment or applicable employer compliance fee paid

As per subparagraph R200(3)(f.1), for a foreign national referred to in subparagraph (1)(c)(ii.1), the fee referred to in section R303.1 has not been paid or the information referred to in section R209.11 has not been provided before the foreign national makes an application for a work permit.

In the case of LMIA-exempt employer-specific work permits, it is mandatory that the employer submit the offer of employment to IRCC in advance.

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.

Exemptions to the payment of the compliance fee under section R303.1: The employer is not required to pay the compliance fee if the foreign national is not required to pay a fee for processing an application for a work permit.

Information on processing LMIA-exempt, employer-specific work permits may be found at International Mobility Program: Employer-specific work permits with Labour Market Impact Assessment exemptions

Employer is engaged in striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

“The foreign national intends to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.” [R200(3)(g.1)]

This paragraph refers to all occupations in the business, not just those providing the actual services.

“On a regular basis” refers to organizations that provide these services full-time or regularly. “A regular basis” could include businesses that offer these services once a month, once every 3 months or at regular intervals.

Foreign nationals who are work permit-exempt are prohibited from working for an ineligible employer under paragraph R183(1)(b.1).

Employers who have been found non-compliant

Foreign nationals who are work permit-exempt are prohibited from working for an ineligible employer under R183(1)(b.2).

As per paragraphs R200(3)(h)(i) to (iii), the foreign national cannot work for an employer who is any or all of the following:

  • subject to a determination made under subsection R203(5), if 2 years have not elapsed since the day that determination was made (if the employer received a determination from the Case Management Branch Investigations and Exceptional Cases Division that they failed to provide the wages, occupation or working conditions stated in offers of employment to previous temporary workers)
  • ineligible under paragraph R209.95(1)(b) (if the result of an inspection is that the employer has been non-compliant and a ban is imposed for a period of time as a consequence, the employer is ineligible until the period of the ban has elapsed)
  • in default of any amount payable in respect of an administrative monetary penalty, including if the employer fails to comply with an agreement for the payment of that amount (employers who are in default of payment become ineligible to hire foreign workers for whom a work permit is required through the International Mobility Program and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program until the administrative monetary penalty plus interest charges is fully paid)

For all of the above reasons, the employer’s name will be put on the list of employers who have been non-compliant.

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