top of page

International Mobility Program - Open work permit

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill in temporary labor and skill shortages without securing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

There are two types of Open Work Permits for foreign workers:

1. Unrestricted (allowing foreign nationals to work in any occupation and location)
2. Restricted (restricting the occupation or the location)


Open-work permits may be issued with the following:

occupational restrictions, depending on the applicant’s medical status 
location restrictions, depending on the category (such as a bridging open work permit under the provincial nominee class)


There are certain situations when a foreign worker can extend or "bridge" open work permit:

Objective: You continue working while you wait for the results of your permanent residence application.

You may be eligible for a bridging open work permit if:

  • you applied for permanent residence

  • your current work permit expires in 4 months or less

  • you have valid status on your work permit

  • you are currently in Canada

You can find more information on extending Your permit here.


Intra-Company Transferee Work Permits


If your employer has a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate office in Canada - and depending on your current position - you may be able to apply for a work permit and obtain it in less than a day.

International Mobility Program: Intra‑company transferees – General requirements

These are policies and procedures used by Immigration Canada Officers when reviewing the applications.


Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision if they


  • are currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;

  • are transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);

  • are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;

  • have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application. Extensions may be granted up to the five- and seven-year maximums referred to in the section Breaks, recaptured time and duration of work permit limit below and in the section on the categories of work with validity periods which may not be exceeded. Documented time spent outside Canada during the duration of the work permit can be “recaptured” to allow the intra-company transferee five or seven full years of physical presence in Canada;


Note: If the applicant has not had full-time work experience with the foreign company, the officer should consider other factors before refusing the applicant solely on this basis, such as the following:


  • the number of years of work experience with the foreign company;

  • the similarity of the positions (e.g., is the applicant coming to work for a short period of time versus coming from a part-time position to a full-time long-term position?);

  • the extent of the part-time position (i.e., two days a week versus four days a week);


  • are coming to Canada for a temporary period only;

  • comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.


Guidelines when assessing start-up companies

Requirements for the company

The company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation, particularly in the case of specialized knowledge. However, in specific cases involving senior managers or executives, it would be acceptable that the address of the new start-up not yet be secured; for example, the company may use its counsel’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.

The company must furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation.

The company must have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.

When transferring executives or managers, the company must

demonstrate that it will be large enough to support an executive or management functions.

When transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must

  • demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business;

  • ensure that work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.


Duration of work permits

Initial work permit: one year

For renewals, evidence should be provided that

  • the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;

  • the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year;

  • the new office has been staffed.

Eligibility criteria apply to both the senior managerial and specialized knowledge categories

Intra-company transferees are not necessarily required to re-locate to Canada. However, they are expected to actually occupy a position within the Canadian branch of the company; there should be a clear employer-employee relationship with the Canadian company, and the Canadian company should be directing the day-to-day activities of the foreign worker. This is especially important for employees working at client sites and not at the parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary.



Documentation requirements

The following documentation is required:

  • confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by a multi-national enterprise outside Canada, and seeking entry to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of that enterprise in Canada;

  • confirmation that the foreign national has been employed (via payroll or by contract) continuously (full-time, not accumulated part-time) by the enterprise outside Canada, in a similar full-time position, for at least one year within the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application;

  • outline of the applicant’s position in an executive or managerial capacity or one involving specialized knowledge (i.e. position, title, place in the organization, job description);

  • in the case of “specialized knowledge”, evidence that the person has such knowledge and that the position in Canada requires such knowledge;

  • outline of the position in Canada (namely, position, title, place in the organization, job description);

  • indication of intended duration of stay;

  • description of the relationship between the enterprise in Canada and the enterprise in the foreign country (the officer may request tangible proof to establish the relationship between the Canadian and foreign organizations wishing to make the transfer).


Intra-company transferee duration of the work permit limit

After intra-company transferees have reached their maximum work permit duration (seven years for executives and senior managers, and five years for specialized knowledge workers), they must complete one year of full-time employment in the company outside Canada if they wish to re-apply as an intra-company transferee. This requirement, which exists in NAFTA, applies to all intra-company transferees, whether they enter under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act general provisions of paragraph R205(a) or under the international trade agreement provisions of paragraph R204(a). It also applies to foreign nationals who wish to switch from a work permit issued under paragraph R205(a) to a work permit issued under paragraph R204(a).

How to proceed if you require assistance?

1. Email us ( Your issue and any documentation that you consider relevant


2. We review your documents and appoint a consultant/lawyer to contact you with the brief assessment


3. You decide whether to proceed.


All our cases are handled by experienced lawyers and RCIC immigration specialists.


Source & Copyright: The source of the above visa and immigration information and the copyright owner is the: Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Immigration Quebec

Disclaimer: The content of this page is provided as an information guide only. The use of this website is at the viewer/user's risk. While every effort is made in presenting up-to-date and accurate information, no responsibility or liability is accepted by the owners of this website for any errors, omissions, outdated or misleading information on these pages or any site to which these pages connect or are linked.​​

bottom of page