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international mobility program

Moving to Canada on a work visa is the dream of many. A lot of people scour the internet looking for ways to relocate to north America as skilled workers, while many might be competent with skillset in demand within the country, but very few have the required years of experience and funds necessary to apply for the numerous skilled worker immigration programs put out by the immigration refugee and citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Related articles: Extension of visitor visa in Canada

That’s were the international mobility program comes in. With this program, you can begin the process of securing a sponsor and applying for a visa under this scheme within a 14-day period and get granted. The beauty of IMP is that you don’t need any work experience, language proficiency testing or even proof of funds to be accepted and granted a visa under this scheme. Did I forget to mention that your labor market impact assessment requirement also gets waived and there’s no age limit? So how do you get in? Well, I was just coming to that.



International Mobility Program

The international mobility program lets a Canadian employer (sponsor) hire a foreign worker on a temporary basis, without the need for a labor market impact assessment that would otherwise have been used to prove an applicant’s competent level.

Most employers in Canada offering employment to foreigners outside the country are required to submit an offer of employment through the employer portal on the immigration refugee and citizenship Canada website.

As soon as a Canadian sponsor files an offer of employment, the foreign temporary worker has to apply for a work permit to be eligible to work when he/she arrives in Canada. Upon arrival in Canada, there are conditions that guide working as a temporary worker under the international mobility program, failure to abide to these guidelines will result in a penalty being issued.


international mobility program


Even though the international mobility program hires foreign workers on a temporary basis, it is quite different from the temporary foreign worker program. The temporary foreign worker program requires foreign applicants to have taken a labor market impact assessment. Which is a key requirement.

How To Secure A Job With A Canadian Employer Under The International Mobility Program

To secure a job under the mobility program for international applicants, you will need to visit the Canadian career website which has a catalog of all open positions in every company registered under this program.

Create an account by clicking on “register”. You can register as either a candidate or an employer. Put in your email address. It must be stressed that you can still apply for open positions in Canadian companies found on this website without creating an account. Creating an account only ensures that you receive open jobs in Canada via email every week.

international mobility program



Now click on the tab at the top labelled “immigration FAQs” and on the option titled “2022 List of Employers who have applied for a Labor Market Impact Assessment to hire foreign workers to fill or skills shortage”.

Things To Look Out For While Searching For The Right Canadian Sponsor

We recommend that all applicants under the international mobility program, go through the job openings per company, doing so one after the other. Take note of the official language requirement, as some companies might be located in French speaking provinces.

Also take note of the required work experience, some of these positions require a certain amount of work experience. However, you should be looking for jobs that do not need any work experience. Finally, what educational level does the job entail for its applicant? As well as the specific skill to make one eligible for the job. These are things to look out for while analyzing open positions.


canada career site


When you find a position advertised by a Canadian employer that you fancy, an application can be made by either forwarding your resume and cover letter to the email address provided at the bottom or through the Canada career website.  It is recommended that applicants apply to as many open positions as possible that they qualify for.

Job Offer Letter

When you get accepted by a Canadian company participating in the international mobility program, a job offer letter which is a document given to a temporary worker explaining the detailed specifics of the position to be filled is sent.

This letter contains information about expected remuneration for the position as well as all deductions that would be made from your salary at specified intervals. It highlights your role in the company, hours you will be working per week and duties to be carried out for the duration of time you would be working in the company.


job offer letter under the international mobility program


Difference Between A Job Offer Letter And An Offer Of Employment Under The International Mobility Program

A job offer letter is different from an offer of employment, as pointed out above, a job offer letter is a document that officially informs the foreign temporary worker that he/she has be employed by the company in a specified capacity and an offer of employment is a requirement placed by the IRCC on employers (companies) who are exempt from taking the labor market impact assessment, which shows a vacant position that gets allocated an offer of employment number.

Offer Of Employment Number

Normally companies in Canada looking to take advantage of the international mobility program need to take a labor market impact assessment to show that there are workers needed to fill vacant positions which cannot be filled by Canadians.

Companies that don’t need to take an LMIA are required to submit an offer of employment for vacant positions, these positions are allocated numbers.

How To Apply For Skilled Worker Visa Under The International Mobility Program

If you are successful in your application for an advertised position, the Canadian company that seeks your services is required to send an offer of employment number. This is a number under which a vacant position was lodged with the immigration refugee and citizenship Canada.

This number is mandatory for your work permit application to be processed when an application for one is made. Without it there’s no way Canada immigrations can begin work permit processing.


how to apply for a visa under the international mobility program


However, some Canadian sponsors are exempt from the employer compliance process and do not need to take LMIA or submit offers of employment with the IRCC, these companies are required to send the foreign worker an employment contract, which can be used to file for a work permit.

Applying For A Work Permit

As soon as you get your job offer letter or employment letter you can begin your employer specific work permit application. Sometimes due to exemption from employer compliance, applicants might not receive job offer letters which contain their offer of employment number, in this instance, a contract received from the Canadian employer can be used to apply for a work permit.

In a bid to make these application process seamless, foreign workers are now able to receive their work permits at the border, after having started the application process in their home country, this of course before entry into Canada.


international mobility program


Obtaining a Temporary Skilled Worker Visa

Upon receiving your work permit, the next step is to apply for a Foreign temporary skilled worker visa under the international mobility program. Ensure you have all the necessary supporting documents such as;

  • your job offer letter,
  • work permit or its completed application,
  • together with security background check
  • and health certificate.

The visa processing period takes anything from 7 to 14 days before a decision is made. Be advised that if the required supporting documents are not in order, your visa application could be denied without prior warning.


work permit under the international mobility program


Information Contained In A Work Permit

It is important to note that some conditions will be written into your work permit, thus making it difficult to violate its usage.

Under the international mobility program your work permit may include;

  • The type of temporary work that can be done
  • The Canadian employer that you will be working for
  • The location where you can work
  • And the length of time you can work for

The regulation 185 of the immigration and refugee protection regulations itemizes all the conditions that might be put on your work permit.

However, even though you don’t have specific conditions listed on your work permit, there are specific standards that are binding to all work permit holders.

You mustn’t;

  • Work for an employer whose business raises suspicion on grounds of sexual exploitation of its workers. Businesses such as strip clubs, massage parlors or escort agencies should be avoided.
  • Remain in Canada at the end of your authorized stay

Processing Time For Work Permits

Processing a work permit under the international mobility program varies depending on whether you are applying from inside or outside Canada. Also, if you are coming into Canada to work in an essential position, then your application will be prioritized.

Below is a table that contains processing times for some countries;

Countries Processing Times
Algeria 13 weeks
Argentina 17 weeks
Australia 13 weeks
Belgium 10 weeks
Brazil 11 weeks
Costa Rica 12 weeks
Czech Republic 7 weeks
Denmark 10 weeks
Ethiopia 12 weeks
France 9 weeks
Germany 7 weeks
Hong Kong SAR 14 weeks
India 40 weeks
Japan 19 weeks
Kenya 28 weeks
Luxembourg 12 weeks
Morocco 16 weeks
Nigeria 61 weeks
Portugal 10 weeks
Romania 9 weeks


The processing time starts when a completed application is submitted and ends when a decision on an application is made.

Your application might require fingerprint and photo biometrics. The work permit application process does not include time taken to send documents from a work center to the specific processing office. It also doesn’t cover the time it takes to get a biometric capture.


processing time for a visa under the international mobility program


An International Mobility Program Open Work Permit

As mentioned earlier, upon receiving an employment letter from a Canadian sponsor, foreign temporary workers are required to apply for a work permit. We recommend that you don’t apply for a regular work permit, instead go for an open work permit.

An open work permit under the international mobility program, gives you the leverage of switching employers while in Canada. You could discover the working conditions in a company is not to your liking and might want to move on to another employer.

The open work permit makes it possible for employers to add foreign workers to their labor force without putting in additional applications.

This work permit usually comes with an introduction of the work detail for permit being granted. It itemizes what can be or can’t be done with this document. Wort permits are issued by a border service officer at the port of entry upon arrival in Canada.


open work permit under the international mobility program


Criteria For Open Work Permit Eligibility

Not everybody is eligible to apply for an open work permit. Applicants who do not qualify for this document, but persist in applying get rejected. You can only apply if you are:

  • An international student who can show that he/she graduated from a designated learning institution and can show eligibility for a post graduate work permit program
  • A destitute student who is no longer able to meet the cost of studying in Canada
  • A worker with an employer specific work permit who is being abused presently in his/her workplace or at risk of being abused in the future.
  • An individual who has applied for a permanent residency in Canada


criteria for an open work permit under the international mobility program


  • A dependent family member or relative of someone who has applied for permanent residence in Canada
  • The spouse or common law partner of a skilled worker or international student
  • The spouse or common law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic immigration pilot program
  • A refugee claimant, refugee, protected person or their family member
  • A person under an enforceable removal order
  • An individual with a temporary resident permit
  • A young worker participating in special programs

In each of the above scenario, there are additional criteria that must be met to be eligible for an open work permit.

Responsibility And Condition Of Working Under The International Mobility Program

When an applicant’s work permit has been granted, there are certain responsibilities and conditions that must be met by a temporary worker which is usually assessed by his/her Canadian sponsor. These include;

  • A copy of the worker’s work permit showing expiration date must be forwarded to the employer
  • The worker must meet the conditions stated in the work permit, such as job location and length of time they can work in Canada for
  • The worker must meet the details of the offer of employment that was submitted to IRCC by the employer. So as to make sure the worker is a right fit for the position. Also, duties to be carried out by the worker must match those stipulated by the National Occupation Classification code.


responsibility and conditions under the international mobility program


  • As required by the province or territory and as listed in the offer of employment, workers will have their medical insurance set up by their Canadian employer and make sure that all benefits accruing to labor compensation are disbursed when due
  • Workers must be actively engaged with the specific job that is stated in the employment letter for as long as the work permit stays active
  • While in Canada all applicable federal, provincial and territorial laws must be adhered to by foreign temporary workers under the international mobility program
  • Temporary workers must keep an eye out to make sure that their workplace is free of physical, sexual, psychological and financial as well as any recriminatory acts against whistle blowers. If any of the above is observed, foreign temporary workers are eligible under this statue to apply for an open work permit, thus able to get work with a different employer in Canada.


temporary worker under the international mobility program


  • Temporary workers are free to ask questions of their employer, as well as request necessary documents or information that would aid efficiency in their service rendition to the company
  • If a contract was not offered by the employer before or upon arriving Canada, the worker is within his/her rights to request an employment contract to be facilitated by the employer.

New Employer Responsibilities Under The International Mobility Program In Relation To Covid-19

There are now updated Covid-19 guidelines that has to be adhered to by Canadian employers which affects temporary workers coming into the country. These guidelines must be enforced by Canadian sponsors or contracted temporary workers risk deportation if found contravening any of them. These guidelines are summarized below;

  • Orders made under both the quarantine and emergency act regarding temporary workers must be followed to the later
  • All provincial laws or orders relating to Covid-19 must be adhered to by all workers and Canadian sponsors must see to it that they are enforced
  • Foreign workers must be paid all wages and compensations due them while they are in mandatory quarantine or isolation upon entering Canada under the quarantine act. This is regardless of whether the worker is able to carry out company specified duties or not.


covid 19 guideline


Canadian Employer Documentary Obligation Under The International Mobility Program

Canadian sponsors are required to keep all documents relating to foreign temporary workers for a period of up to 6 years. This is because they might be required to submit these documents to prove that certain temporary workers were in their payroll for a specified period of time.

In some cases, foreign temporary workers destined for a province in Canada, end up not working for a Canadian employer, documentary evidence would be required in this instance to prove that the work permit issued was not honored by the worker.


documentation storage under the international mobility program



Moving to Canada on a skilled work visa is now possible without work experience, language test requirement, labor market impact assessment or a proof of funds. It is now as simple as applying for an advertised position with a company under the international mobility program.

Upon receiving a job offer letter or a contract, the applicant is required to apply for a work permit before he/she can apply for a visa to come into Canada. Without a work permit, a temporary work visa will not be granted. So, this step is mandatory.

However, applicants are allowed to submit both a work permit application and a visa application together, such that a work permit is processed and picked at the port of entry. While working in Canada there are guidelines that must be followed and rules that must be adhered to. Failure to do so will lead to penalties, which are plotted using a point system.

The international mobility program remains the easiest and most seamless method of arriving Canada on a skilled work visa, although on a temporary basis, experienced garnered while taking part in this program will put the worker in good stead to apply for other skilled work visa programs that could offer permanent residency if this is what is sought by the individual.

Do you plan to apply for a skilled work visa under the international mobility program?

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fuse chronicles


travel and tourism blogger

Chinedu Okoronkwo known fondly by friends as Fuse is a Father, biochemist, certified business administrator and entrepreneur specializing in supply chain management and logistics, with vast experience in founding and building businesses in this space. Having worked in an embassy for a number of years and with a passion for traveling, he started Fuse Chronicles, a platform that offers information on everything related to global travels and issues confronting cultural acclimatization around the globe. 


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