Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt From an LMIA

In February 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) set out new requirements for the issuance of work permits under the International Mobility Program. The International Mobility Program (IMP) covers categories of work permits that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. The IMP therefore includes intra-company transfers, free trade agreements such as NAFTA, Provincial Nominees, academics and researchers, and participants in the International Experience Canada program.

With some limited exemptions, employers must now submit employment and business information directly to IRCC and pay a $230 compliance fee, before a foreign national can obtain a new employer-specific work permit at a Port of Entry or through a Canadian visa office. These requirements will also apply to all work permit renewals.

The $230 compliance fee will be charged in addition to the $155 work permit application fee that is currently applicable to most work permits.

Why was the new fee and process introduced?

IRCC has confirmed that the $230 employer compliance fee is intended to provide funding for an expanded employer inspection and compliance regime. Employers will be required to provide information to IRCC regarding the work being offered to foreign workers in a prescribed format in advance of the work permit application to facilitate its adjudication. The information provided by employers will also be subject to employer compliance measures after the work permit is issued. For example, employers should be ready for inspections or audits that ask whether an employer is providing “substantially the same” occupation, wages, and working conditions that were initially offered to the foreign worker.

How does the employer submit the required information to IRCC?

Employers must first set up an Employer Portal on IRCC’s website. They are then able to electronically fill out and file the information required for the Employer Compliance submission. Once the information has been filled out, the employer is then asked to pay the $230 fee, also online. A receipt is then generated, and within a few minutes, the employer will be able to see confirmation on the Employer Portal homepage, that the submission was successfully made. Each successful submission is given an associated Confirmation Number, eg: ‘A0001234’. The employer must provide a copy of the $230 payment receipt and the Confirmation Number to the foreign worker for them to use when applying for their work permit.

This article is reprinted here with the permission from Harris & Company LLP. Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice, and work permit program requirements are subject to change by CIC at any time.

Additional information provided by Katie Van Nostrand, an immigration lawyer with Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP. The information provided in this article is necessarily of a general nature and must not be regarded as legal advice. For more information about Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, please visit