The Government of Canada announced a significant and fundamental change to processing of work permits under the International Mobility Program (IMP) which includes NAFTA professionals and intra-company transfers. Applications under the IMP do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment or advertising to support a work permit application.  Currently, visa-exempt nationals submit their work permit applications and documentation to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which typically adjudicates the application and issues the work permit immediately at the port of entry.

Effective February 21, 2015, employers intending to hire visa-exempt foreign nationals must first submit the following information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in advance of attending at the port of entry, where the work permit will ultimately be issued:

  • Employer business information;
  • Offer of Employment form; and
  • Payment of a $230.00 CAD employer compliance fee online.

Specific details regarding the new process and the amount of information that will need to be provided have not yet been disclosed.

This development is one of several initiatives advanced over the past few months to crack down on noncompliant employers.  This new process is being implemented to ensure that all employers will be subject to Canada’s strict compliance regime, which includes worksite inspections and monetary fines, bans from hiring foreign workers and, in serious cases, criminal investigations and prosecutions.

We strongly encourage employers to apply for work permits under the IMP prior to February 21, 2015 in order to avoid potential disruptions to work engagements in Canada.