International Mobility Program: Employer-specific work permits with Labour Market Impact Assessment exemptions

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the IRCC website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Officers must be aware that the work permit application is no longer an isolated event but the second step in the employer compliance regime. It is extremely important that the offer of employment be correctly reviewed to ensure that there are no issues if an inspection is initiated.

The employer compliance regime began in April 2011 with the requirement to confirm the genuineness of the offer of employment. In December 2013, the compliance regime was enhanced to automatically impose conditions on employers and the provision of inspection authorities. The employer compliance regime has effectively made the employer a client of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada. In 2015 with the regulations pertaining to employers hiring foreign nationals under the International Mobility Program (IMP), officers must now ensure that they are assessing the genuineness of the offer of employment, that the employer is eligible and that the foreign national meets the requirements of the offer of employment.

The changes introduced on February 21, 2015 included the addition of:

  • section 209.11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) stipulating that an employer who has made an offer of employment to a foreign national referred to in subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) must, before the foreign national makes their application for a work permit, provide the Offer of employment information to the Minister through the electronic system made available by the Department for that purpose;
  • section R303.1 requires employers to pay the employer compliance fee, unless they are exempt from the fee requirement under subsection R303.1(5);
  • section R200(3)(f.1) authorizes the refusal of the work permit if the employer compliance fee (if required) and the offer of employment have not been provided before the work permit application is made.

In November 2015, the Employer Portal became the electronic system referred to in the regulations.

However, in rare situations employers who are having extreme technical difficulties or who are unable, because of a physical or mental disability [R209.11(3)], to provide the information using the electronic system, may be authorized by Operational Management and Coordination Branch (OMC) to submit the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) form [IMM 5802] using an alternate method.

Employers must always contact the Employer Portal mailbox first to provide information on their technical issue or disability in order to obtain authorization for alternate submission.

Note: The offer of employment information replaces the job offer letter previously required to support LMIA-exempt work permit applications from foreign nationals.

Employer submission of the offer of employment information directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Regardless of the method used (i.e., Employer Portal or alternate submission), IRCC must receive the offer of employment information and the employer compliance fee or proof of fee exemption prior to the foreign national’s work permit application [as per paragraph R200(3)(f.1) and section R209.11].

Note: The “before the foreign national submits their application” requirement has no specific time frame. As long as the foreign national includes the offer of employment (LMIA Exempt) number (or if authorized, a copy of the IMM 5802 form with a valid receipt number), IRCC or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) should accept that the requirement is met, regardless of whether it was submitted days or minutes prior to the submission of a work permit application.

On successful submission of the offer of employment using the Employer Portal, an Offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is automatically assigned to the information submitted. The employer must provide the Offer of employment (LMIA-Exempt) number to the foreign national for inclusion in their work permit application form, as this provides the necessary evidence to satisfy the requirement in paragraph R200(3)(f.1).

Linking the offer of employment to the work permit application

The process of linking or matching the work permit to the offer of employment (LMIA-exempt offer) is the second step in the work permit process. This step is necessary to ensure the proper allocation of fees and the ability for inspections to be conducted.

Employers are required to provide accurate information to IRCC. If the information provided is determined to be inaccurate it could result in the revocation of the work permit.

Employer Portal Submission

  1. When reviewing an application for an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit, to ensure that the requirements of paragraph R200(3)(f.1) are met, officers should confirm that
    • the Offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number (A#######) is included on the work permit application form (this is linked to the LMIA/LMIA Exempt # field in GCMS); and
    • that the employer compliance fee activity has been generated by GCMS under the Fees view tab or the employer has provided proof of fee exemption (found in the eDocs view tab in the Organization’s tab).

    Important: The Case Type field must be “52”. No other case type will allow the correct linkage in GCMS. Entering a case type other than “52” will result in incorrect financial accounting for IRCC requiring manual corrections to be made and make inspection activities more difficult.

    Note: The LMIA-exempt offer of employment status remains as ‘pending’ in GCMS until it is matched with a work permit application. Once matched, the status changes to ‘matched.’ If the status is ‘withdrawn’ the employer has withdrawn the offer. See section Withdrawal of the offer of employment prior to work permit issuance for further instructions.

  2. If the Offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number has been entered into the LMIA/LMIA-Exempt # field, the offer details should appear under the Employment Details view tab, LMIA Exempt screen.

Officers should review this information and ensure that the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the Offer of employment information.

Note: The validations in GCMS require that the biographical information included in the offer of employment must exactly match the passport information provided by the work permit applicant in order for the linkage to be made in GCMS, this includes hyphens, accents, spaces, capitalization and numbers.

If the Employment Details view tab does not auto-populate

Where the Case Type field is set to “52” and the LMIA/LMIA Exempt # field is populated but no information populates the Employment Details – LMIA Exempt view tab, it may be because:

  • the Offer of Employment (LMIA Exempt) number is incorrect / does not exist, or
  • the biographical information (names and passport number) does not match exactly between the Offer of employment and the work permit application. Any difference, such as a hyphen, or an incorrect letter or number, will stop the validation.
A) Verifying if the LMIA Exempt # is correct
  • query it in the LMIA Exempt screen tab by using the LMIA Exempt # or Family and Given Name plus Business Operating Name, review the information for the specific LMIA-exempt offer or hyperlink on the Organization ID and review all offers for that organization in the Offer of Employment view tab, or
  • query for the Organization ID and check the LMIA Exempt # or the Employee Name under the Offer of Employment view tab.
    • In the Organizations and Entities screen tab, employers who have submitted their Offer of employment form through the Employer Portal are listed as follows:
      • type: Organization
      • sub-type: Regulatory Employer or Regulatory Employer — Branch
B) Verifying the data match between the offer of employment and the work permit application

Officers can verify if the name and passport details in the offer of employment are exactly the same as the work permit application by

  • querying the LMIA-Exempt number in the LMIA Exempt Screen tab, or
  • navigating to the Organizations & Entities screen tab – Offer of Employment view tab

and reviewing the biographical information in the fields in the Worker Information section against what is provided in the work permit application.

Note: The biographical information on both the offer of employment and the work permit application must always match exactly what is in the passport. Any difference, such as a hyphen, accents, capitalization or an incorrect letter or number, will stop the validation.

If the biographical information in the offer of employment does not match the passport provided by the foreign worker, the processing officer can:

  • send a request to the work permit applicant to have their employer provide a new Offer of employment with the correct information and upload the new offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number, or
  • Remove the LMIA-exempt #, change the name or passport record on the work permit application to match the name or passport number on offer, re-insert the LMIA-exempt number, or
  • Refuse the work permit application if the officer is not satisfied that the foreign national listed in the offer is the same as the work permit applicant.

Important: Officer should not change the Case Type to anything other than ‘52’ just to get around the validation.

For reference: instructions on cancelling and resubmitting the employment offer can be found in the Employer Portal user guide.

Further instructions regarding reviewing the offer are found in Reviewing the offer of employment information.

Alternate Submission

Employers will only be authorized to submit their offer of employment using an alternate method (usually email) by Operational Management and Coordination Branch (OMC) after their technical issue has been evaluated.

Employers must submit their technical issue to the Employer Portal mailbox. If the technical issue is serious enough to warrant waiving the Portal requirement, OMC will then:

  • provide the employer with the IMM 5802 form for completion
  • provide the employer with instructions on paying the fee online
  • place a Note in the Client screen in GCMS indicating that the employer has been authorized to submit the IMM 5802 form for a specific foreign national
  1. Where no Offer of employment (LMIA-exempt) number is included in the work permit application and the LMIA-exempt number cannot be found in GCMS, officers should confirm that
    • A Client Note is available on the Client screen indicating that the employer has been authorized to use the IMM 5802 for the specific foreign national;
    • a copy of the completed IMM 5802 form is included with the work permit application;
    • the receipt number for the employer compliance fee is valid or the employer has indicated a fee exemption. (this information is captured separately from the work permit processing fee information in the Fees view tab in GCMS); and
  2. Once the existence of the Client Note has been verified officers should review, the information in the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) [IMM 5802] as per the instructions found in Reviewing the offer of employment information.

Note: For applications where the foreign national is submitting the work permit application with the IMM 5802 form and employer payment receipt, the case type “20” should be used. This case type should not be used as a method of circumventing the validations in GCMS.

Allocation of the of the employer payment receipt number

If the receipt number is not available for use in GCMS, there are three possible reasons:

  • the employer entered the number incorrectly;
  • the receipt has been allocated to another work permit application; or
  • the receipt number and/or the IMM 5802 form are not genuine.

Prior to November 2015, employers may have paid multiple employer compliance fees as a batch on one receipt. To find the payment number for association in the work permit application, the Integrated Payment Revenue Management System (IPRMS) receipt number should be queried in the Payments screen tab.

Reviewing the offer of employment information

Officers should review the information in the Employment Details view or the IMM 5802 to ensure that the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the Job Details section (or Details of Job on the IMM 5802), that the offer meets the genuineness requirements in R200(5) and that the employer is not ineligible.

Note: Officers should never change any information provided by the employer including exemption codes, as the employer is expected to ensure that the information included in the offer of employment is accurate. Any change by IRCC or the CBSA to the information provided by the employer, without the employer’s knowledge and consent, renders subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) unenforceable, as the information is no longer provided by the employer and cannot be verified as accurate.

If the information in the work permit application does not match the information provided by the employer (e.g. worker documentation indicates a different LMIA-exemption, wages or location are different, etc) the processing officer can:

  1. contact the employer directly using the contact information provided in the specific offer of employment and request further information, or
  2. assess the work permit application as received and make the final decision.

Officers should not request information pertaining to the offer of employment directly from the foreign worker as only information provided directly from the employer can be inspected.

Concerns regarding genuineness of the offer of employment [R200(5)]

If the officer has concerns regarding the employer or the genuineness of the offer of employment, the officer may request further information directly from the employer as per the contact information supplied in the offer of employment. Subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) provides officers the authority to request information from employers without having to use the foreign national applicant as a conduit for that request.

In order for the information to be inspected for accuracy it must be received by IRCC directly from the employer. Information submitted by the work permit applicant is not subject to inspection. Therefore, officers should always contact the employer directly to request further information, such as the following:

  • proof of registration or licensing to determine if the employer is active in business;
  • proof of compliance with federal, provincial, or territorial employment legislation, such as minimum wage;
  • a copy of an online receipt; or
  • documents supporting the financial ability to pay the wages offered.

Important: Subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) makes it a condition that employers demonstrate that any information they provided under subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) or section R209.11 is accurate. Information provided by or requested from the foreign national is not “provided by the employer” and is therefore not included in the information that can be inspected for accuracy. The employer’s contact information should be included in the Offer of employment form provided by the employer, as per section R209.11. The method of contact (e.g., email, regular mail, or fax) should be determined by individual offices according to their internal procedures.

Employer compliance fee exemptions

Some employers are exempt from the fee requirement under subsection R303.1(5).

If there is no corresponding fee payment (listed in the Payment view tab) for an offer of employment, the employer should have provided proof of their fee exemption.

The employer is required to upload ‘proof of fee exemption’ in the Employer Portal if they indicate they are fee exempt. The proof of fee exemption document may be found in the eDocs view tab. Officers should confirm that no fee-exemption was indicated and no fee payment was made before refusing under R200(2)(f.1).

No offer of employment information or employer compliance fee submitted

The IRPR states that when hiring LMIA-exempt foreign workers, employers must pay the employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment to IRCC.

Some employers may be exempt from paying the employer compliance fee under subsection R303.1(5) and subsection R303.2(2). Despite the fee exemption, these employers must submit the offer of employment to IRCC, as per section R209.11.

A work permit application shall be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) if the employer has not

  • paid the employer compliance fee, as per section R303.1 [unless the employer has been exempted from paying the fee under subsection R303.1(5) or R303.2(2)]; or
  • submitted an Offer of employment form, as per section R209.11.

Refunds

A refund of the employer compliance fee must be initiated if

  • the work permit application is refused; or
  • the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit and the work permit application is therefore refused; or
  • the work permit application was withdrawn prior to the issuance of the work permit.

Refusal of the work permit application

If a work permit application is refused, a refund of the employer compliance fee should be initiated by IRCC or the CBSA in accordance with the standard guidelines.

Withdrawal of the offer of employment prior to work permit issuance

As of April 9, 2016, Employers may withdraw their offer of employment directly from their Employer Portal account. This will change the status of the offer of employment from ‘pending’ to ‘withdrawn’.

Prior to April 9, 2016 an employer would send an email to Case Management Branch (CMB) to indicate that they were cancelling the offer of employment, CMB would:

  • add an Info Alert to the foreign national’s Client screen stating that the offer of employment has been withdrawn; and
  • initiate the refund of the employer compliance fee as per the standard guidelines for IPRMS receipts.

If a work permit application has been received, but not yet approved (No letter of introduction or work permit issued)

If the offer of employment is withdrawn/ cancelled after a work permit application is received, the processing office should

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit; and
  • refund the employer compliance fee as per the standard guidelines for IPRMS receipts.

A template letter titled Employer Compliance refund to employer is provided in the GCMS templates folder Temporary Residents for use by processing offices.

If a work permit application is approved but work permit not issued (POE)

If the offer of employment is withdrawn/ cancelled after the approval by an overseas office but prior to work permit issuance at port of entry, the border service officer should

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit; and
  • initiate the refund the employer compliance fee as per the standard guidelines for refunds between CBSA and IRCC.
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