What is the International Mobility Program, and How Can You Apply?

June 1, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

Canada is a modern economic powerhouse. Its economy is expanding at such a rate that the Canadian government desperately needs more and more international workers to fill the gaps in the Canadian job market. As a result, the Canadian government has put together many plans, such as the International Mobility Program to bring foreign workers into Canada to fill the positions the Canadian public cannot supply themselves.

Employers offering International Mobility Program jobs do not need to prove no one in Canada can fill the position. This means you will receive an open work permit, allowing you to live and work in any job in Canada you want and change jobs at any time. This is only for very specific programs and circumstances. This article will help your International Mobility Program eligibility and how to apply.  

What is the International Mobility Program?

What is the International Mobility Program?

The International Mobility Program is the name given to the programs that provide temporary foreign workers with a Canada open work permit to work in Canada without a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

It allows employers to hire a foreign worker with a Canada open work permit. Despite having a few streams based on the skill level of the occupation, the International Mobility Program doesn't show a preference for specific applicants based on the wage offered. Employers can hire a foreign worker by providing a transition plan or offering the position to Canadian workers first. On top of all this, the International Mobility Program processing time is only around two weeks, whereas most LMIA-approved employment programs take months to process.

What Is a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

An LMIA is a document showing that a Canadian employer has tried to fill a position via the local workforce but has been unable to provide a suitable candidate. As a result, it has resorted to hiring foreign workers to fill these empty positions. The LMIA proves the employer is permitted to do so.

However, there are drawbacks to the LMIA process, which can often prove problematic to both employers and potential employees. For example, the LMIA requires the employer to pay the rate specified in the agreement created between the employer and employee when offered the position. On top of this, if the employer provides benefits to local workers, those benefits must extend to all foreign workers. This can often lengthen the LMIA process as employers must develop a transition or labor market benefits plan. They also have to pay a $1,000 fee for the LMIA process. There are even more requirements for employees who make under $150,000 per year.

In this case, employers must submit documents to prove the legitimacy of their business. Also, employers can only have 20% of their workforce from a temporary foreign worker base. You must advertise on the government job bank plus two other recruitment methods before hiring a temporary foreign worker.

As a result, the International Mobility Program is a highly attractive pathway for employers. It allows for far greater freedom for employers to develop and advertise positions. The Canada International Mobility Program is also far quicker as it avoids the LMIA process, allowing the temporary foreign worker to get a visa quickly and efficiently so they can start work as soon as possible.

What Programs Fall Under the Canada International Mobility Program?

What Programs Fall Under the Canada International Mobility Program?

The programs that fall under the International Mobility Program Canada are as follows:

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

A program for those who have completed studies at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Learn more about the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements

Agreements are made specifically for workers between 18 and 35, such as the International Experience Canada (IEC) stream. Laarn more about IEC and how to apply.

International Free Trade Agreements

Several agreements were made between Canada and its trade partners to provide work to citizens of those countries in the interest of good trade. These agreements include:

  • Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA);
  • 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.
  • 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

This program is for those transferring to a Canadian branch of the company they already work for.

The Bridging Open Work Permit

This permit is for people who want to work in Canada as part of becoming permanent residents. Learn more about Canada's open work permits.

Circumstances of Social or Cultural Benefit to Canada

This program is for people who can significantly contribute to Canada's culture based on past success, recommendations, and testimonials from their areas of expertise. Immigrants looking to move to Canada via international programs such as the Mobilite Francophone Program is often given to immigrants.

How To Apply For the International Mobility Program Canada

How To Apply For the International Mobility Program Canada

There are three primary steps when it comes to how to get on the International Mobility Program.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility 

To be eligible, you must fulfill the International Mobility Program Canada requirements. They are as follows:

  • Valid passport
    • A valid passport is required.
  • Work permit application
  • Official job offer letter
  • LMIA exemption code
    • Applicants must have a valid LMIA exemption code.
  • Education
  • LMIA exemption
    • The positions exempt from requiring an LMIA provide broad economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages for Canada and provide reciprocal benefits for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • Significant benefit
    • To qualify for an LMIA exemption under the category of significant benefit for Canadians, the employment of a foreign national must demonstrate significant social or cultural benefit to Canada.

Step 2: Get a Job Offer

You need to submit an offer of employment from your prospective Canadian employer via the International Mobility Program Employer Portal.

For this job offer to be accepted into the International Mobility Program, it needs to meet a few criteria:

  • The job or temporary foreign worker must meet the requirements for LMIA exemption.
  • The employer must pay the $230 compliance fee.
  • The employer must submit an official job offer to the International Mobility Program Employer Portal if needed.

However, if the temporary foreign worker has a Canada open work permit, the employer won't have to pay the compliance fee or submit the official job offer.

Step 3: Apply for a Work Permit

If you have met all of the above requirements, it's time to apply for a work permit. In this case, you will need a Temporary Foreign Work Permit. You need to submit the number of your offer of employment to get this. If you're seen as eligible to live and work in Canada, you will receive a letter of introduction and a work permit from a Canadian border officer. You'll obtain a new work permit if you already live and apply from within Canada.

Your work permit alone won't allow you to enter Canada. If you're coming to work in Canada from another country, you'll get a Visitor's or Travel Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETa).

You'll also submit your primary Visa documents like a medical certificate and a police certificate showing a successful background check.

Step 4: Get Ready

If your application is successful and you've been issued your work permit and travel visa, it's time to get everything ready to live and work in Canada.


What's the Difference Between the TFWP and the International Mobility Program?

International Mobility Programs and Temporary Foreign Worker Programs are very similar. They will allow you to work in Canada for a set period. The significant differences come in the Canadian government departments that cover each program, the reasons behind the existence of each program, the requirements prospective employers must fulfill, and the processing time and cost of each process. An example of how the TFWP differs from the International Mobility Program is as follows:

  • LMIA is required, showing the employer has searched for Canadian workers before hiring a foreign worker.
  • Proof that the employer has attempted to hire locally.
  • Employers can only employ workers with closed work permits.
  • Prospective employers can only hire workers if they fill the region's labor market gap.
  • Applications are heavily streamed based on the wage of each position.
  • Employers must submit a transition plan.
  • Employers must pay the $1,000 LMIA application fee.
  • The process can take months unless the applicant is in the top 10% of wage earners or a specific occupation.
  • The entire process is overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Which Positions Don't Require a Work Permit Under the International Mobility Program?

The Canadian government lists occupations allowed to work without a specific work permit. The main list can be found on the Canadian government site and includes other work permit exemptions.

Do I Need to Apply via the International Mobility Program if I Only Work in Canada temporarily?

No. You will be given a work permit exemption if you work within TEER levels 0 or1 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and will only work for under 30 days. If you are here to work for a publicly-funded Canadian degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution, you can be granted up to 120 days to work without a permit.

Take The Next Step For Your Career In Canada

Working in Canada can lead to fantastic career and lifestyle opportunities that you may not be able to gain in your home country. The International Mobility Program is one of the most direct, simple, and open ways to earn your work permit and the opportunity to work in Canada. It allows you to get your start in the Canadian workforce as quickly as possible. It opens up an excellent possibility for staying in Canada more permanently. If you are unsure about getting started with your International Mobility Program process or finding out if you are eligible for International Mobility Program, you can hugely benefit from speaking to a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant who can help answer your questions and prepare for your move to Canada.