Interns with international organizations and foreign missions recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act: Significant benefit (LMIA exemption code C10)

All in-Canada visitor record, study permit and work permit applications must be submitted electronically, with some exemptions. See the list of programs that are exempt from the mandatory electronic application requirement.

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.

Some international organizations (for instance, the International Civil Aviation Organization) and foreign missions (such as embassies and consulates) established in Canada pursuant to the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act may decide to hire foreign interns for short periods of time. These foreign nationals are usually not subject to diplomatic accreditation and therefore cannot benefit from a work permit exemption under paragraph R186(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

To maintain good relationships with these organizations and foreign missions, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) must facilitate work permit issuance for foreign interns destined to these entities in Canada. IRCC officers may thus consider issuing work permits to foreign nationals who have an internship offer at foreign missions and international organizations in Canada pursuant to paragraph R205(a) (C10).

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Assessing the internship

The term “internship” is not defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act IRPA) or the IRPR. Internships constitute work, as foreign nationals are considered to be entering the Canadian labour market and to be displacing opportunities for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This notion applies to internships, whether they are pursued in relation to a study program, in a situation where no wages are paid or in a situation where a commission is earned.

To determine whether the position offered at a foreign mission or international organization in Canada constitutes a genuine internship, officers may consider the following:

  • Successfully engaged interns normally receive some form of acceptance letter, employment contract or invitation letter from the international organization or foreign mission to this effect. Such documents could include information on the particulars surrounding the engagement, including the position title, a description of tasks and the duration of engagement.
  • Many internships are linked to graduation from an academic program.
  • Most internships are for short periods of less than a year (usually not more than 6 months). Proposed internships of longer periods may prompt an officer to request more information surrounding the intentions of the internship.
  • Many internships either are unpaid or come with a modest stipend, although some may be paid.

Foreign nationals must provide all the documentary evidence to satisfy the officer that they meet the requirements for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption under exemption code C10 as interns destined to a foreign mission or international organization in Canada.

Documentary evidence includes written confirmation from the mission or international organization attesting to the details of the work in an internship position. This evidence may include the employment contract or an invitation letter and must contain both of the following:

  • an explanation of the program in which the internship takes place
  • the timing of the internship (start and end dates)

Officers may also request documents such as transcripts, diplomas or certificates for additional evidence.

When reviewing work permit applications submitted under these guidelines, IRCC officers must be satisfied that the offer is that of a genuine internship and that the foreign nationals do not in fact intend to work in another type of occupation, for instance as locally engaged staff for which other guidelines apply.

Employer compliance regime exemption for foreign missions and international organizations

As of February 27, 2018, foreign missions and international organizations are exempt from the employer compliance regime.

Normally, employers hiring foreign nationals eligible for a work permit under the International Mobility Program, such as work permits issued pursuant to paragraph R205(a) (C10), must pay an employer compliance fee and submit offer of employment information to IRCC online through the Employer Portal before the work permit can be issued. This is now no longer the case for foreign missions and international organizations.

This exemption applies only to foreign missions and international organizations in Canada to whom privileges and immunities are granted under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act. In case of doubt as to whether the entity to which an intern is destined possesses such immunities and privileges, IRCC officers may contact Global Affairs Canada’s Office of Protocol.

Certain foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa are required to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

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

GCMS will not require an LMIA exemption number (A#) to be entered. Although the employer is exempt from paying the employer compliance fee, the system will still expect the fee to be paid. The processing officers must manually enter fee exemption code “EC1.”

Because the work permit type “Other” was selected on the work permit application, GCMS automatically defaults to case type 20. The officers must manually change the case type to the new case type 60 under the “Application” screen.

Based on the employment contract or other documentation submitted with the work permit application, officers should enter the following under the “Application” screen:

  • Province of Destination: Address of physical job location
  • City of Destination: Address of physical job location (if there is more than one location, officers should enter the primary location in the “City/Province of Destination” field and the other location(s) in the “Remarks” field)
  • Exemption Code: C10
  • Intended Occupation: Job title
  • Salary: Amount per year as indicated in the employment contract in Canadian dollars
  • Employer: Name of the mission or international organization

Applicants can provide details of their prospective employer by doing the following:

  • For paper applications, applicants must attach the letter of invitation or employment contract from the mission or the international organization to their paper application.
  • For online applications, applicants must upload the letter of invitation or employment contract under “Supporting Documents → Letter from Current Employer.”

Case notes

Officers must indicate “Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act” and the name of the organization that wrote the letter of support and on the work permit’s visible remarks. For all cases under these instructions, officers must be satisfied of the temporary nature of the work.

Applicants destined to Quebec

Foreign nationals destined to work in Quebec under sections R204 to 208 (LMIA exemptions) do not require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate.

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