International Mobility Program: Authorization to work without a work permit – Diplomats (and family members), consular officers, representatives and officials accredited to Canada [R186(b) and (c)]
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.
Foreign representatives [R186(b)]
A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit as a foreign representative [R186(b)], if they are properly accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), and are in Canada to carry out official duties as a diplomatic agent, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies or of any international organization of which Canada is a member.
Note: The referral for secondary examination of foreign representatives entering Canada for the first time should be avoided. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) should contact the DFATD Office of Protocol in Ottawa for verification of status.
See section 13.5 of the chapter ENF 4 (PDF, 1.53MB) for instructions on processing initial entry.
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Meetings and conferences
Non-accredited staff of an international organization (whether United Nations (UN) or non-UN, as listed above) coming to work at meetings or attend a special assembly, etc., do not require work permits.
Family members of foreign representatives [R186(c)]
Family members of persons who have been accredited with diplomatic status may work without a permit if they are issued a “no-objection letter” by the Protocol Department of the DFATD. Such persons may also seek a work permit in order to satisfy potential employers that they have the right to work.
The accreditation takes the form of an Acceptance Visa (multiple-entry) in the individual’s passport. In addition, every person over 16 years of age receives an identity card (ID card). Please note that an accreditation may be cancelled before the end date on the counterfoil and ID card if a posting comes to an end or a client regularizes under CIC before the validity date.
Refers to a person in Canada who is accredited by a foreign state as a member of a diplomatic mission. Diplomatic missions are the foreign government offices established in the National Capital Region (NCR), accredited to the Canadian government to conduct diplomatic relations. Persons holding the following ranks are considered diplomats:
- High Commissioner,
- Deputy High Commissioner,
- Chargé d’Affaires,
- First, Second or Third Counsellor,
- First Secretary,
- Second Secretary,
- Third Secretary,
- Attaché, and
- Assistant Attaché.
(Career) consular officer
Refers to a person in Canada who is accredited as a member of a consular post. Consular posts are foreign government offices established outside of the NCR to provide service to nationals of their community and liaise with Canadian officials on common points of interest (e.g., education, tourism, trade, etc.). Persons holding the following ranks are considered consular officers:
- Consul General,
- Deputy Consul General,
- Deputy Consul,
- Vice-Consul, and
- Consular agent.
Of a country
Refers to a country, other than Canada, with which Canada has diplomatic relations and which has established a mission in Canada or a non-resident mission in Washington D.C. or New York.
Of the United Nations or any of its agencies
The UN does not have an office in Canada; however, several of its agencies have offices throughout Canada. Members of these organizations will be accredited as representatives, senior officials or officials. Temporary or permanent staff, or experts on mission of a UN organization in Canada are exempt from the requirement to hold a work permit pursuant to paragraph 186(b), irrespective of rank. (Please contact the DFATD Office of Protocol for any necessary clarification on these categories 343-203-3011.) All require an O-1 or D-1 visa, which is fee-exempt [reference: Consular Manual 10.4.2(2)]. Interns working at UN agencies or organizations in Canada are not regarded as temporary or permanent staff and, as such, are not exempt from the requirement of holding a work permit. Consultants whose services have been retained by UN agencies or organizations are also not covered by the above work permit exemption, unless specified otherwise by the DFATD Office of Protocol.
Members or officials of the following UN agencies and organizations are accredited by Canada (this list is not exhaustive):
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – Montreal
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Ottawa
- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – Québec
- United Nations Environment Program (Convention on Biological Diversity) (UNEP) – Montreal
- Multilateral Fund for the Protection of the Ozone Layer under the Montreal Protocol (UNEP) – Montreal
- United Nations University – International Network on Water, Environment and Health (INWEH) – Hamilton
Persons entering Canada to take employment as officials of the Secretariat of ICAO require a letter of appointment indicating the person’s official level at ICAO, signed by or on behalf of the Secretary General of ICAO. Senior officers working for the Secretariat of ICAO are accredited.
Accreditation is not conferred to experts on mission to any of the above agencies and organizations. An expert on mission is an individual who is engaged for a short period of time by an organization or by a member state to provide expert advice at a meeting or conference.
International organizations of which Canada is a member
These organizations are not agencies or subsidiaries of the UN. They are organizations created by agreements. Canada has agreed to host some organizations and give their members protection comparable or lesser to that which is granted to the members of UN agencies. Members of these organizations will be accredited as permanent representatives, senior officials or officials. Members of the following organizations have been accredited:
- Commonwealth of Learning (COL) – Vancouver
- Energy Institute of Countries using French as a Common Language (EICF) – Québec
- Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) –Toronto
- Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) – Ottawa
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Toronto
- North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) – Montreal
- North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) – Vancouver
- North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) – Sidney, B.C.
- Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – Dartmouth
- Office of the European Commission at Montreal (EC) – Montreal
- Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) – Vancouver
- Secretariat of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (EGMONT) –Toronto
- Cospas-Sarsat Program (COSPAS - SARSAT) – Montreal
Other special representative offices
- Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Canada (TECO) – Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver
- Palestinian General Delegation (PGD) – Ottawa
Note: Accreditation applies only to the permanent staff assigned to Canada, and not to short-term temporary staff coming to Canada to work at an international meeting.
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