Increased Fees and Compliance in the International Mobility Program

Meurrens LawWork Permits

On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada publicized amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that affected most applicants in the International Mobility Program (the “IMP“).

The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) process, including workers covered by free trade agreements, people participating in exchange programs like International Experience Canada (“IEC“), provincial nominees, intra-company transferees, post-graduate work permit holders, etc.

In reviewing the changes described below, it is important to understand the distinction between a closed work permit and an open work permit. A closed work permit limits a foreign worker to a particular employer. An open work permit allows the foreign worker to work for any employer.

  • The changes consist of:
    • Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders in the IMP provide information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) before their prospective employees apply for work permits;
    • Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders pay a $230.00 “employer compliance fee” per employee before their prospective employees apply for work permits; and
    • Introducing a new $100.00 “privilege fee” on open work permit applicants.

The Government of Canada has announced that the above changes will all take effect on February 21, 2015.

Required Information

An employer who has made an offer of employment to a foreign national who requires a closed work permit under the IMP must provide the following information to CIC before their prospective foreign worker applies for his/her work permit:

  • The employer’s name and contact information;
  • The employer’s Canada Revenue Agency number;
  • Information that demonstrates that the prospective foreign worker will be performing work that qualifies for the IMP; and
  • A copy of the offer of employment that is made in a prescribed CIC form. This prescribed form will replace the current requirement that work permit applicants provide CIC with a copy of their company’s job offer.

Employers will also have to satisfy CIC that the information that they provided in previous applications was accurate. CIC has announced that there will be increased compliance verification and audits in the IMP.

The above information generally must be provided on-line.  The employer complete and submit an IMM5802 – Offer of Employment to a Labour Market Impact Assessment Exempt Foreign national.  Upon completion of the form, the employer will click the “Submit” button and this will populate an e-mail with the correct information and attach the IMM5802 Offer of Employment for direct submission to CIC.  The employer must then provide a copy of the IMM5802 Offer of Employment to the foreign national for inclusion with the work permit application.

The affect of the above changes will be that prospective applicants under free trade agreements, intra-company transferees, etc., will no longer simply be able to apply for their work permit as soon as they have prepared the application. Instead, applicants will have to wait until CIC has approved their prospective Canadian employers, who will have to have previously submitted documentation and forms which were previously not required for much of the IMP.

New Fees

The “employer compliance fees” and the “privilege fees” are on top of the existing $155.00 work permit application processing fee that all work permit applicants currently pay. As such, the cost of a closed work permit in the IMP will effectively increase from $155.00 to $385.00, while the cost of an open work permit will effectively increase from $155.00 to $255.00.

The fees are payable in advance or, in certain circumstances, at the date and time that an LMIA-exempt work permit application is made. It applies to both initial work permit applications and renewals.

The employer compliance fee will not apply to prospective foreign workers who do not have to pay work permit application fees. These include refugee claimants and protected persons, destitute students, persons working for religious or charitable organizations without remuneration, foreign students performing work related to research, and participants in International Experience Canada programs that are employer specific (who instead pay a $150.00 IEC fee).

Live-in caregivers are exempt from the privilege fee.

CIC will refund the employer compliance fee and privilege fee if it ultimately refuses the prospective foreign worker’s work permit application. As well, CIC will refund the the employer compliance fee if the employer withdraws the offer of employment and requests a refund before the work permit is issued.

More information about the Ministerial Instructions can be found in the Canada Gazette.

668-Fees webinar deck - final

CIC’s IMP audits and inspections look very similar to those that the Ministry of Employment and Social Development does for LMIAs.  The initial request for documents is as follows:

IMP Compliance Audit