The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages without 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.

In most cases, to hire a temporary worker through the IMP, you must pay a fee and submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal. Certain employers are exempt, as are temporary workers in Canada who have an open work permit.

After you submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal, you will receive an offer ID number. The temporary worker uses this number to complete a work permit application. If approved, the temporary worker will receive a work permit at the point of entry into Canada.

TFWP and IMP: An overview

LMIA required No 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 region Based partially on international reciprocal agreements (e.g. IEC, NAFTA, CETA)
Streams applications based on the wage of the position offered Does 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 worker Employers may hire without first offering the position to Canadians
Employers hiring for high-wage positions usually must provide a transition plan Employers 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 months Many 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.