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International Mobility Program (IMP)

Updated: June 19th, 2023

Canada's labor market has been under tremendous strain for various reasons. These include a declining birth rate, a booming economy, and many retiring citizens. As a result, there are over 1 million job vacancies nationwide, with specific jobs in extremely high demand.

The country is, therefore, looking to fill many of these positions with foreign workers, offering both permanent and temporary employment opportunities at all skill levels. 

As a result, the Canadian government has created multiple work permit programs allowing workers in certain industries or occupations to have faster processing times or lower entry requirements. One of the most popular programs is the International Mobility Program (IMP)

What is the International Mobility Program?

What is the International Mobility Program?

The IMP is an immigration program facilitating Canadian employers hiring foreign workers based on specific economic and labor needs. It allows employers to hire non-Canadians to temporarily live and work in Canada without providing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), providing them with more flexible access to potential employees.

The Canadian government has advocated for greater workplace protections to ensure that all foreign workers benefit from the same labor protections offered to their Canadian counterparts. This includes implementing minimum wage laws and providing more significant incentives to employers who favor hiring foreign workers. Canada is also looking to invest in training programs designed for both permanent and temporary foreign workers so that they may become contributing members of their community.

Certain provinces offer educational opportunities to improve job prospects for immigrants and permanent residents. In addition, organizations such as employment centers, community colleges, and immigrant settlement agencies provide networking opportunities and job search support to better equip immigrants with the necessary tools and resources to find decent employment that give them a fair wage at career-level jobs. Through these integral measures, Canada intends to ensure that new Canadians can reach their full potential in the country's economy.

The program also offers visa exemptions for temporary foreign workers who do not require a work permit and opens up new opportunities for highly-skilled immigrants looking to move to Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provide complete information regarding the process and requirements for the IMP depending on a foreign candidate's country of origin.

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.

Which Programs Does IMP Canada Cover?

The International Mobility Program (IMP) Canada is a comprehensive initiative designed to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into the country for work purposes. The IMP program Canada aims to advance Canada's broad economic and cultural national interest. It incorporates several programs to attract international talent, foster cultural exchange, and promote international trade. The question that often arises is - what is IMP? The answer is multi-faceted as the Canada International Mobility Program covers a broad spectrum of programs, each with unique benefits and eligibility requirements. 

Post-Graduation Work Permit

One of the key components of IMP Canada is the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. This program is designed for international students who have completed a program of study at a Canadian post-secondary institution. It allows these graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which can be a stepping stone toward permanent residency. 

Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements

Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements represent another vital aspect of the IMP program Canada. These agreements enable young people from different countries to travel and work in Canada, enriching their cultural understanding and enhancing their professional skills. It allows young individuals to experience life in Canada and contribute to its socio-cultural fabric. Learn more about Canada's top exchange programs.

International Free Trade Agreements

The International Free Trade Agreements under the Canada International Mobility Program also significantly facilitate international mobility. These agreements usually contain provisions that allow for the temporary entry of business persons from free trade agreement partner countries. This provision is instrumental in promoting international trade and investment. 

Intra-Company Transfer Program

The Intra-Company Transfer Program is another component of IMP Canada aimed at multinationals. The program enables international companies with a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada to improve management effectiveness, expand Canadian exports, and enhance competitiveness in overseas markets.

The Bridging Open Work Permit

The Bridging Open Work Permit is an excellent opportunity for foreign nationals currently residing in Canada who have applied for permanent residence under certain classes and are awaiting a decision on their application. This permit ensures these individuals can continue working while their applications are being processed. 

Circumstances of Social or Cultural Benefit to Canada

IMP Canada recognizes circumstances where foreign nationals' entry can provide Canada with significant social or cultural benefits. These could include high-profile individuals or groups that could generate considerable social or cultural benefits for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 

The Canada International Mobility Program is a dynamic framework encompassing many programs that enrich Canada's socio-economic landscape. From promoting education and youth exchange to fostering international trade and cultural benefits, the IMP Program Canada is a crucial catalyst in enhancing the nation's global standing.

How do I Know if I Can Apply Through the International Mobility Program?

How do I Know if I can Apply Through the International Mobility Program?

To be eligible for an International Mobility Program (IMP) open work permit, the foreign worker must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen of a country with which Canada has a trade agreement or understanding that provides for the movement of people between the countries.
  2. Have been offered a job in Canada by an employer who is exempt from submitting an LMIA application to Employment and Social Development Canada and can provide evidence of this eligibility (such as form IMM5802)
  3. Meet all the other requirements outlined by IRCC and not be inadmissible to Canada.

Those who meet these criteria may also qualify for provincial immigration programs if they remain employed in their Canadian job over a certain period. In addition, local governments may require additional conditions to be met before permanent residency is granted, such as language requirements. However, each province has different requirements.

How do I Apply Through the IMP?

How do I Apply Through the IMP?

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

Step 1: Job Offer

Your prospective employer must 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 (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 more straightforward and quicker to process.

Step 2: Apply for a Work Permit

Once done, you can apply for your temporary foreign work permit. You will need your offer of employer number to complete your application. Your application will be approved if you are eligible to work in Canada. You will receive the following:

  • 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. If you arrive from another country, you must be issued a Visitor's Visa (Travel Visa) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTa).

You may also need to submit a medical certificate to show that you are in good health. If not, you may be denied access to Canada. Here are three medical reasons IRCC may not admit you.

Step 3: Prepare for Your New Job in Canada

Get ready to embrace a new adventure in Canada! You have all your permits and visas, meaning you can dive headfirst into exploring everything this country offers. From the bustling cities of Toronto and Vancouver to the stunning natural landscapes of Banff and Jasper, Canada is full of exciting opportunities waiting for you.

Imagine meeting new people from different cultures, trying new foods, and experiencing life differently. It's a chance to start fresh, try new things, and discover a new world. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for an exciting journey in Canada!

If you want to ensure you have your best possible chance of working in Canada through the IMP, you could hugely benefit from utilizing the services of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). A qualified RCIC will review your documents and application materials to ensure they are up-to-date and complete and devise an effective strategy to support your move to Canada.

They will also assist you in finding available job opportunities and ensure that you are adequately prepared for any job requirements once you have them. They will carefully assess your experience and qualifications to help you present your strengths positively in an employer's eyes.

In addition, an RCIC is also an excellent resource for helping immigrant workers settle into their new lives in Canada more efficiently by offering valuable tips on things such as finding accommodation, opening a bank account, using public healthcare services, or getting Social Insurance Number (SIN).

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

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Programs are very similar in allowing you to work in Canada for a fixed period. 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, do not worry. Our RCICs have been helping people like you find their pathway to Canada.

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

This is why you could hugely benefit from utilizing the skills and experience of an RCIC. RCICs are regulated by the government of Canada and have adequate knowledge of these programs. But, most importantly, they know how to support you throughout the application process and can help dramatically increase your chances of successfully receiving a Canadian visa.

Our team supports and guides you through each step, from helping you find the perfect job in Canada to connecting you with recruiters, overcoming language barriers, and finding suitable housing.

We want to help you realize your Canadian dream – contact our team today to get started.


International Mobility Program (IMP)

Do All Employers Need to Use the Employer Portal?

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

  • International organizations that fall under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
  • What are the Criteria for Two-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 lists occupations allowed working without a specific work permit. The following types of jobs may not require a work permit for foreign nationals to engage in Canadian employment:

  • Athlete or Coach
  • Aviation accident or incident investigator
  • Business visitor
  • Civil aviation inspector
  • Clergy
  • Convention organizer
  • Crew member
  • Emergency service provider
  • Examiner and evaluator
  • Expert witness or investigator
  • A family member of a foreign representative
  • Foreign government officer or representative
  • Foreign military personnel
  • Foreign representative
  • Health care student
  • Judge, referee, or similar official
  • Military personnel
  • News reporter or film and media crew
  • Producer or staff member working on advertisements
  • Performing artist
  • Public speaker
  • Short-term highly-skilled worker
  • Short-term researcher
  • Student working off-campus
  • Student working on-campus
  • Foreign academic taking part in a research project at a publicly-funded
  • degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution
  • Foreign researcher working temporarily at a publicly-funded degree-
  • granting institution or affiliated research institution
  • International student working on a research project at a private sector
  • organization
  • Foreign workers participating in a reciprocal employment exchange program
  • Unpaid guest speaker
  • Urgent repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipment
  • Volunteer

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