United States government personnel: International agreement (LMIA exemption code T11) – International Mobility Program

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.

Official United States (U.S.) government personnel assigned to work in Canada temporarily may be eligible for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permit under exemption code T11.

Subsection R204(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a work permit may be issued to a foreign national who intends to perform work pursuant to an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, other than an agreement concerning seasonal agricultural workers.

The U.S. government personnel are work permit fee exempt pursuant to R299(2)(j).

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Who counts as official U.S. government personnel

Official U.S. government personnel assigned to temporary postings in Canada may include the following:

  • officers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection working as pre-clearance officers at Canadian airports
  • members of the International Joint Commission
  • U.S. grain inspectors
  • U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees
    • IRS employees will periodically enter Canada to perform audits, collect data and conduct criminal investigations. IRS representatives require a work permit but are LMIA-exempt as they will be engaging in employment pursuant to an agreement entered into with a foreign country by or on behalf of the Government of Canada. They may be issued a 1-year work permit.
  • Employees of other U.S. government department or agencies

Generally, these foreign nationals are not accredited by the Global Affairs Canada’s Office of Protocol. That is, these individuals are not accredited as officials or diplomats in Canada under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act (FMIOA); the FMIOA does not apply to these individuals.

U.S. government personnel arriving in Canada for the first time will be issued a work permit on presentation of a letter from the appropriate agency identifying the following:

  • the assignment
  • the location
  • the number of years the employee will be assigned in Canada

Long-term work permits may be issued for the duration of the assignment.

Officers should use the following terms and conditions. U.S. government employees are not authorized to do the following:

  • attend any educational institution or take any academic, professional or vocational training course, unless authorized
  • work in any occupation other than that stated
  • work for any employer other than that stated
  • work in any location other than that stated

Employer compliance exemption

U.S. government agencies sending personnel to work in Canada as described above are exempt from the employer compliance regime.

They do not have to submit an offer of employment (through the Employer Portal) to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or pay the employer compliance fee before their personnel can obtain their work permit.

However, the foreign national must provide all the documentary evidence to satisfy the officer that they meet the requirements for an LMIA exemption under exemption code T11.

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 of Destination” field and the other locations in the “Remarks” field)
  • Exemption Code: T11
  • Intended Occupation: Job title
  • Salary: Amount as indicated in the employment contract in Canadian dollars and number of work hours
  • Employer: Name of the U.S. government agency

The occupational codes are as follows:

  • Supervisory staff: NOC 1228
  • USCIS inspectors: NOC 1228
  • U.S. customs inspectors: NOC 1228
  • U.S. grain inspectors: NOC 2222
  • International Joint Commission employees and others: NOC 2263

Applicants destined to Quebec

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

Family members

Pursuant to the reciprocal agreement between the U.S. and Canada, eligible family members may obtain open or unrestricted work permits where medical requirements have been met. The expiry date should coincide with the U.S. government employee’s term of duty. The work permit is LMIA-exempt under paragraph R205(b) (exemption code C20); case type 20. They are fee-exempt under code E03.

For guidance on specific requirements to obtain a study permit for minors, please refer to Study permits: Guidelines on minor children.

Note: A U.S. government official seeking short-term entry for the purposes of performing duties and providing services for the U.S. government in Canada may enter as a business visitor if the criteria are met.
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