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The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers in Canada to hire foreign workers on a temporary work permit without needing to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This may present a number of advantages to employers and workers alike, who may enjoy the simpler, quicker hiring process.

In contrast to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, under which work permits may be issued depending on labour market conditions in specific cases, the International Mobility Program serves Canada’s broader economic and cultural interests. This could take one of the following forms:

The above list is by no means exhaustive. In order to assess how Canadian work permit are issued, it is helpful to compare the International Mobility Program, which is effectively a loose collection of work permit streams, with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which delivers a more rigid, labour market-oriented assessment of whether a foreign worker may be eligible to work in Canada.

TFWP and IMP: an overview

LMIA requiredNo LMIA required
Work permits are closed (employer-specific)Work permits may be open or closed
Labour market-based (to fill shortages on a temporary basis)To advance Canada's broader economic and cultural interests
Based on specific labour needs based on occupation and regionBased partially on international reciprocal agreements (e.g. IEC, NAFTA, CETA)
Streams applications based on the wage of the position offeredDoes not stream applications based on the wage offered, but certain streams take occupation skill level into account
Typically requires employers to search for Canadian workers before being able to hire a foreign workerEmployers may hire without first offering the position to Canadians
Employers hiring for high-wage positions usually must provide a transition planEmployers do not have to provide a transition plan
Employer pays fee for LMIA application ($1,000)Employer pays compliance fee ($230) unless job applicant holds an open work permit (in which case, no fee is required)
Two-week processing standard is only available for certain occupations and top 10% wage earners, otherwise the process can run to many monthsMany IMP streams have a two-week work permit processing standard
Overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)Overseen by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Employer Portal

Under certain International Mobility Program streams — specifically, for streams requiring a job offer — the employer offering the job offer must do so in the government of Canada’s Employer Portal.

Employers hiring under one of these International Mobility Program streams first create a unique login before selecting the option to submit an offer of employment to a candidate. The employer must provide information about the nature of the business and its size, as well as its main activities. Information about the employment offer itself is also required. This may entail providing minimum requirements for the position, such as education level or language abilities. The employer must also provide information on the wage and benefits being offered.

A $230 employer compliance fee is associated with each offer of employment submitted through the Employer Portal.

Employers hiring workers with an open work permit are not required to submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal, nor do they have to pay any fee.

About the author

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Rebecca Major

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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