Locally engaged staff of diplomatic and consular missions and international organizations: Reciprocal employment (LMIA exemption code C20) – International Mobility Program

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.

Pursuant to Global Affairs Canada’s (GAC’s) Office of Protocol (XDC) policy, Locally-engaged staff working in foreign bilateral missions in Canada: What missions must know and do, it is generally expected that locally engaged staff (LES) of diplomatic missions or consular posts be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. However, GAC may permit diplomatic missions and consular posts to employ foreign nationals as LES.

It is important that such individuals already be in Canada. Foreign nationals should not be recruited from overseas to work in Canada as LES.

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Foreign nationals applying as LES from inside Canada

A work permit may be issued to a foreign national pursuant to the reciprocal employment general guidelines of paragraph R205(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA] exemption code C20), noting the name of the foreign mission or international organization as the employer. A no-objection note (bilateral mission) or letter (multilateral mission) from the XDC must be submitted with the work permit application. The application should be submitted in Canada to the case processing centre.

If the in-Canada applicant cannot produce a note or letter of no-objection from the XDC, the employer-specific work permit application can be refused pursuant to paragraph R199(i).

IRCC officers may consult the XDC if they receive a work permit application to work at a mission to ensure that the mission or consular post has permission to hire. IRCC officers are not required to consult the XDC in cases of work permit renewals with the same employer. The XDC issues an initial note or letter of no objection, but does not do so for extensions. If IRCC officers have any concerns when assessing renewals, they may contact the XDC.

Locally engaged staff are not granted official status, nor are they granted any immunities, privileges or benefits under the provisions of the Vienna Conventions or the Government of Canada’s Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act.

Note: Generally, the XDC will not provide a no-objection note or letter for persons in Canada who have entered Canada for the intended purpose of working as locally engaged employees of bilateral and multilateral missions. Applicants must already have entered Canada and usually hold an open work permit.

Processing instructions for in-Canada applicants

  • Persons wishing to work as locally engaged staff must submit a copy of the no-objection note or letter from the XDC. If a no-objection note or letter is submitted, officers may consult with the XDC before making a decision on the work permit application. Applicants must satisfy all the criteria of a temporary resident.
  • Applicants may apply from within Canada, pursuant to paragraph R199(i).
  • A work permit that is exempt from a LMIA may be issued, pursuant to section R205 (C20). The foreign mission or international organization is noted as the employer.

Employer compliance exemption

Diplomatic and consular missions are exempt from the employer compliance regime.

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 C20 as locally engaged staff at a foreign mission or international organization in Canada.

Documentary evidence includes both of the following documents:

  • written confirmation (for instance, an employment contract) from the mission or international organization attesting to the details of the work as locally engaged staff
  • a letter of no objection from GAC

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 (province and/or city), officers should enter the primary location in the “City/Province of Destination” field and the other location(s) in the “Remarks” field)
  • Exemption Code: C20
  • Intended Occupation: Job title
  • Salary: Amount per year as indicated in the employment contract.
  • Employer: Name of the mission or international organization

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.

Situations of foreign nationals outside Canada applying as LES

A no-objection note or letter will generally not be issued to foreign nationals who apply outside Canada to work as LES at diplomatic missions or consular posts. Applications that are submitted outside Canada should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis engaging the XDC.

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