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International Mobility Program (IMP)

Updated: August 19th, 2022

Canada’s labour market has been under tremendous strain due to various reasons. These include a declining birth rate, a booming economy, and large percentage of retiring citizens. The country is, therefore, looking to fill these positions with foreign workers, offering both permanent and temporary employment opportunities at all skills levels.  

What is the International Mobility Program (IMP)?

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers without an LMIA if the position serves Canada’s cultural and economic interests. This makes for faster processing and a much simpler application process than that of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which requires an LMIA and is labour market dependent.

What is an LMIA?

An LMIA is a document that shows that a Canadian employer has attempted to fill a job locally but was unable to do so successfully and is therefore permitted to hire a foreign employee.

There are various work permit streams and programs that fall under the IMP, many of which could give you the opportunity to eventually apply for permanent residency through various provincial programs or federal economic programs such as the Canadian Experience Class, which falls under the Express Entry system.

IMP Streams

Open Work Permits

As mentioned previously, work programs under the IMP do not require an LMIA. Applicants only require an open work permit which allows you to work for any employer in Canada. Below are some of the programs that fall under the International Mobility Program: 

International Mobility Programs
Program/Stream Who Can Apply?
The Post Graduation Work Permit Program for those who have studied at and graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements such as the International Experience Canada (IEC) - for those between the ages of 18 and 30 (35) years of age who want to travel and work in Canada
International Free Trade Agreements
  • North American Free Trade Agreement;
  • Canada-Chile FTA/Canada-Peru FTA/Canada-Columbia FTA/Canada-Korea FTA/;
  • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); and
  • General Agreement On Trade In Services.
The Intra-Company Transfer Program for those planning to transfer to a Canadian branch of the company they currently work for
The Bridging Open Work Permit for those who want to work in Canada and are in the transition phase of becoming a permanent resident
Circumstances of Social or Cultural Benefit to Canada for those who can contribute to Canada in a significant way through programs such as the Mobilité Francophone Program. This will be reliant on the applicants past successes, recommendations and testimonials from those in a relevant field of expertise.

How do I Apply Through the IMP?

women raising hand in boardroom meeting | International Mobility Program

As with the Temporary Foreign Work Permit Program, the process starts with your Canadian employer.

Step 1: Job Offer

Your prospective employer will need to submit an official job offer in Canada via the Employer Portal.

Employers will need to meet the following requirements to hire foreign workers through the International Mobility Program:

  • Prove that the job or worker meets the requirements for LMIA-exemption;
  • Pay the compliance fee of $230; and
  • Submit an official job offer via the IMP Employer Portal (if required).

If you already have an open work permit, your employer won’t have to submit a job offer nor pay the compliance fee, making the application both easier and quicker to process.

Step 2: Apply for Work Permit

Once this has been done, you will be able to apply for your temporary foreign work permit. You will need your offer of employer number to complete your application. If eligible to work in Canada, your application will be approved and you will receive:

  • A letter of introduction and a work permit from a Canada border services officer; or
  • A new work permit (if you live in Canada or apply when you enter Canada).

Important to Note

Remember, a work permit will not grant you access to enter Canada. You will need and be issued with a Visitor's Visa (Travel Visa) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTa) if you will be arriving from another country.

You may also need to submit a medical certificate to show that you are in good health.

Step 3: Prepare for Your New Job in Canada

Once you have your work permit and travel visa you can get ready to start anew in Canada.

How do I Know if the TFWP or IMP is Right for Me?

Both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Programs are very similar in that they will allow you to work in Canada for a set period of time however there are many differences.

Below is a comparison of the main differences between the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program:

Temporary Foreign Work Program vs International Mobility Program Infographic

Ready to Start Your New Career in Canada?

If working in Canada has been a dream but you’ve never felt confident enough to take on the Canadian immigration system, not to worry. Our regulated immigration and visa professionals have been helping people, just like you, find their pathway to Canada.

The key to a successful application however is selecting the best program or visa option for your unique circumstances.

Need help with your application to work in Canada?

Ready to start your International Mobility Program application? Simply click the link below to speak to one of our highly qualified consultants for more information about the visa and work permit application process.


Do All Employers Need to Use the Employer Portal?

No, there some employers who do not have to make use of the Employer Portal. These include:

  • International missions or consular posts
  • International organizations who fall under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
  • Foreign governments
  • Owners or operators of international bridges or tunnels

What’s the Criteria Two for Week Processing?

Applications can be processed in two weeks if you:

  • are eligible for the Global Skills Strategy (GSS)
  • submit a complete application

Which Positions Don't Require a Work Permit Under the IMP?

The Government of Canada has a list of occupations that are allowed to work without a specific work permit. You'll find this list on on the Canadian government site.

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