International Mobility Program: Federal–provincial or territorial agreements [R204(c)] (LMIA exemption code T13)

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.

Foreign workers entering under a foreign worker annex or agreement

Federal–provincial or territorial foreign worker agreements, or foreign worker annexes to broader federal–provincial or territorial immigration agreements, include provisions that allow work permits to be issued without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for certain temporary employment positions.

In 2015, certain foreign worker annexes expired, and some were renewed (e.g., those for British Columbia and Ontario). To view the foreign worker annexes in effect, see Federal-Provincial/Territorial Agreements.

Under the new foreign worker annexes, employment positions that may be considered for an LMIA exemption must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Significant Investment Projects;
  • Exceptional or Unforeseen Events (e.g., natural disasters); or
  • Foreign worker protection.

The authority for the LMIA exemption is based on paragraph 204(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

Significant Investment Projects

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is responsible for assessing and rendering decisions on proposals for LMIA exemptions submitted by a province or territory for Significant Investment Projects in accordance with the criteria outlined in their respective foreign worker agreement or annex. While the criteria for LMIA exemptions for Significant Investment Projects are standard in all foreign worker agreements and annexes, specific LMIA exemptions are project-based, and as such, will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

All LMIA exemptions for Significant Investment Projects must be approved by CIC. Once approved, the province or territory will provide eligible applicants with an LMIA exemption support letter containing details such as the name and birth date of the individual selected for the specific job, information about the employer and place of work, and the duration of employment. A copy of this letter must be attached to each foreign national’s work permit application.

Work permit processing

  • Duration: The duration of the work permit is usually based on the duration of the employment contract, as specified in the offer of employment and outlined in the LMIA exemption support letter from the province or territory.
  • Extensions: Work permit extensions under an LMIA exemption may be permitted according to terms agreed to by CIC and the respective jurisdiction. A new LMIA exemption support letter from the province or territory is required.
  • Fees: The employer is required to submit the offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.
  • Field remarks/system notes: Officers must indicate “Canada-(insert province or territory annex or agreement)-Significant Investment Project”.

Note: Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada under a provincial or territorial agreement pursuant to section R204(c) are required to meet all other requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the IRPR.

Exceptional and Unforeseen Events

CIC is responsible for assessing proposals for LMIA exemptions for Exceptional and Unforeseen Events submitted by provinces or territories in accordance with the criteria outlined in their respective foreign worker agreement or annex. While the criteria for LMIA exemptions for Exceptional and Unforeseen Events are standard in all foreign worker agreements and annexes, the LMIA exemptions are event-based, and as such, will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

LMIA exemptions for Exceptional and Unforeseen Events allow provinces and territories to recommend LMIA exemptions that are not otherwise covered under existing LMIA exemptions or work permit exemptions in the IRPR.

A list of existing LMIA exemptions and work permit exemptions for foreign nationals seeking entry in Canada for the purpose of providing services in times of emergency (e.g., natural disasters) are provided below:

LMIA exemptions relating to Exceptional and Unforeseen Events must be approved by CIC. Once approved, the province or territory will provide the applicant with the LMIA exemption support letter containing details such as the name and birth date of the individual selected for the specific job, information about the employer and place of work, and the duration of employment.

In cases where the foreign national is not covered under an existing work permit exemption under the IRPR, a copy of the LMIA exemption support letter must be attached to each foreign national’s work permit application.

Work permit processing

Given the time-sensitive nature of the LMIA-exempt work permits required in relation to Exceptional and Unforeseen events, officers are instructed to process work permit applications on an urgent basis.

  • Duration: The duration of the work permit should not exceed 120 days.
  • Extensions: Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. A new LMIA exemption support letter from the province or territory is required.
  • Fees: The employer is required to submit the offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.
  • Field remarks/system notes: Officers must indicate “Canada-(insert foreign worker annex or agreement)-Exceptional and Unforeseen Events”.

Note: Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada under a provincial or territorial agreement pursuant to section R204(c) are required to meet all other requirements under the IRPA and the IRPR.

Foreign worker protection

Information pertaining to the process for issuing work permits in cases where there is an issue surrounding foreign worker protection will be forthcoming.

Significant Investment Projects: British Columbia Foreign Workers Annex

Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre

The Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (the Centre) is a development and training facility opened in Vancouver by the Microsoft Canada Development Centre (Microsoft Canada) in August 2014. The Centre is also responsible for the execution of strategically important development projects and therefore represents a significant expansion of Microsoft’s global development footprint. The Centre represents a significant investment by Microsoft in Vancouver that provides new job opportunities and creates economic benefits for Canada.

Foreign nationals working or intending to work at the Centre are subject to the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), including the requirement to undergo an LMIA.

Specific LMIA exemptions for international trainees and core staff who support the global training program at the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre were approved by CIC, at the request of British Columbia, under the authority of the foreign worker annex of the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement, on the basis that

  • these trainees are not entering the Canadian labour market or competing with Canadian workers; and
  • the core staff are integral to facilitating the work being done by the global rotational employees.

International trainees: global rotational staff

The Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre serves as an international training place for new Canadian and international Microsoft hires who require preparation prior to commencing their jobs in various Microsoft facilities around the world. Because they are participating in Microsoft training activities only, international trainees at the Centre are not entering the Canadian labour market or competing with Canadian workers. The work undertaken by these trainees serves only to enhance their knowledge for their future employment and is not considered to be work that a Canadian could otherwise do.

Core staff

Core staff positions are essential to the training of the global rotational employees. The training of new global recruits is a fundamental activity of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre and a key driver for its establishment in Vancouver. Without a thriving and sustainable core workforce at the Centre, the global rotational employee program could not exist, as there would be little or no development projects on which the rotational employees would be able to gain the necessary experience. Microsoft Canada intends to sponsor foreign national employees for permanent residence, making them part of the Canadian workforce, ideally well before the expiry of their 36-month work permit. Microsoft Canada and British Columbia are required to demonstrate a meaningful plan to transition foreign nationals recruited for core positions to permanent residence.

Work permit application processing

Letters
International trainees: global rotational staff

The Government of British Columbia will issue a letter of support to approved employees requesting that CIC issue the 24-month work permits pursuant to paragraph 204(c) (exemption code T13).

Core staff

Work permit applications for each core staff seeking a T13 exemption must be accompanied by two letters: one from Microsoft Canada and one from the Government of British Columbia.

  • The Microsoft Canada letter must provide
    • assurance by Microsoft Canada that the hiring of the core employee contributes to building or sustaining the Centre’s capacity to be a robust development centre that can support the training of rotational employees; and
    • a plan to transition these employees to permanent residence.
  • The Government of British Columbia letter will outline the province’s concurrence with the Microsoft assessment that the position contributes to building or sustaining the Centre’s capacity to be a robust development centre that can support the training of the global recruits. The letter will commit British Columbia to nominating the foreign national for permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program as soon as that foreign national is eligible. The province’s letter will request that CIC issue 36-month work permits pursuant to paragraph 204(c) (exemption code T13).
Additional criteria for core staff
  • The exemptions outlined here will be applied only where no other existing LMIA exemptions apply (e.g., intra-company transferees or free-trade agreement exemptions).
  • For core staff, the exemption is limited to positions at the NOC 0, A and B levels.
Duration

Under the terms of British Columbia’s foreign worker annex, CIC will facilitate the issuance of

  • a 24-month work permit for rotational employees, in accordance with the letter from British Columbia;
  • a 36-month work permit for core staff, in accordance with the letters from the Government of British Columbia and Microsoft.
Extensions
  • Rotational staff: No work permit extensions will be issued for this program.
  • Core staff: Work permits will not be extended unless an application for permanent residence has been submitted but not yet been finalized by the Government of Canada or an Express Entry profile has been established.
LMIA exemption code T13

“TFW-PS” is to be noted on the work permit.

Note: Although Microsoft’s rotational program generally lasts 18 months, a 24-month work permit may be issued so that the employee may continue to perform rotational program job duties until they are transitioned by Microsoft into a new position elsewhere.

Foreign workers nominated by a province or territory

See chapter OP 7b for more information on the permanent resident process.

More information is available on the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program pre-nomination initiative.

A person who has a valid nomination from a province or territory for permanent residence and is employed or has a job offer from an employer based in that province may be issued a work permit without requiring an LMIA.

In order for this provision to be applied, the application for the work permit must include the following:

  • the Offer of employment to a foreign national exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) form [IMM 5802] and proof the employer has paid the employer compliance fee;
  • a copy of the nomination letter from the provincial or territorial government that confirms that the foreign national has been nominated for permanent residence by the province (if the nomination is expired, a copy of the acknowledgement letter confirming that CIC received the permanent residence application while the nomination was still valid); and
  • a statement from the province that it has determined that all factors required for the issuance of a work permit under paragraph R204(c) as per its agreement with Canada have been met, identifying the occupation and employer information. The required factors include
    • that the nominated individual is urgently required by the provincial-based employer who has made the foreign national a job offer in that province or territory (it should be noted that self-employed persons are therefore not eligible for this type of work permit, given the lack of employer-employee relationship),
    • that the job offer is genuine and the job offer will create economic benefits or opportunities,
    • that the employment is not part-time or seasonal, and
    • that the wages and working conditions of the employment would be sufficient to attract and retain Canadian citizens.

Applications that do not include the requested information will be refused. Persons whose nominations have expired but who submitted an application for permanent residence before the expiry date of the nomination and are waiting for their acknowledgement of receipt of the permanent residence application letter from CIC should

  • delay their application for a work permit under this provision until they obtain the acknowledgement of receipt;
  • seek an extension of their certificate to the nominating jurisdiction; or
  • obtain an LMIA.

Instructions for processing officers

The duration of the work permit should be equivalent to the duration of the offer of employment. Where the offer of employment is for a “permanent duration”, the work permit will be issued for a maximum of two years.

Note: If there are any obvious potential medical, criminal, or security concerns, these should be dealt with before any work permit is issued.

Note: It is not necessary for the foreign national’s application for permanent residence to have been received by CIC for the work permit to be issued, unless the nomination is expired. In that case, a copy of the acknowledgement letter confirming that CIC received a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) permanent residence application should be provided with the work permit application. Officers should verify the PNP application in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to ensure that the nomination has not been withdrawn by the province and that no adverse information is found on the file.

Spouses or common-law partners of work permit holders who have been nominated for permanent residence by a province are entitled to open work permits for the duration of the work permit of the provincial nominee principal applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal applicant’s occupation.

For Quebec cases, the legislative authority for the LMIA exemption is paragraph R205(a). For further information, refer to LMIA-exempt work permit renewals and extensions for certain Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) holders currently in Quebec.

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