On June 1, 2012, Quebec’s Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) implemented provisions that allow some work permit holders who are present in Quebec to submit an application to renew or extend their work authorizations in Canada without the employer having to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada (SC) and the MIDI.
All provinces and territories in Canada, with the exception of Nunavut and Quebec, have signed immigration agreements with Canada authorizing them to nominate foreign nationals who intend to establish themselves permanently in a province or territory the provincial nominee class (PNC). Work permits may be issued to these foreign nationals under paragraph 204 of the Immigration Regulations.
In the absence of such an agreement, paragraph R205 provides the possibility for LMIA-exempt work permits to be issued to certain individuals whose job for which the work permit was issued would create or maintain significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Quebec would like for some of the foreign nationals it has selected under its Programme régulier des travailleurs qualifiés (PRTQ) and its Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ), who are holders of a valid work permit and who currently reside in the province of Quebec, to be able to have their work authorizations extended with their current employer or renewed with a new employer without having to obtain an LMIA.
Current policy guidelines for the issuance of LMIA-exempt work permits for foreign nationals selected by a province that does not have a federal-provincial nomination agreement are outlined in the International Agreements.
Since there is no federal-provincial nomination agreement for Quebec, officers should consider following the guidelines below for valid Quebec Selection Certificate holders in Quebec.
To be eligible for a work permit under paragraph R205(a), an applicant who holds a valid Quebec Selection Certificate under the Quebec skilled worker class and currently resides in Quebec must fall under one of the following categories:
- applicant seeking to extend their work permit for their current employer or renew it with a different employer in the province of Quebec;
- applicant seeking a work permit with a new employer in the province of Quebec;
- foreign student who has obtained a post-graduation work permit and has an offer of employment in the province of Quebec; or
- work permit holder through participation in one of the following programs under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program:
- Working Holiday,
- 18-month Young Professionals Co-op, or
- International Co-op (Internship).
Work permit extension requests should be submitted directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) either online or by mail to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
If a nominated individual has a valid Quebec Selection Certificate, they do not need a statement from Quebec that confirms they are urgently required by the province-based employer who has made them a job offer in that province or territory, as is the case for foreign workers nominated by a province or territory other than Quebec.
- The applicant must currently be a resident of Quebec.
- The work permit is valid for the duration of the job offer and cannot exceed two years. This time limit should allow the applicant sufficient time to submit an application for permanent residence before the work permit expires.
- Work permits are issued by the authority of paragraph R205(a) (LMIA exemption code A75).
- The application must include copies of the valid Quebec Selection Certificate and the job offer to work in Quebec.
Only employer-specific work permits are to be issued (no open work permit). Spouses or common-law partners who are accompanying the principal applicant and who are currently in Canada are entitled to apply for an open work permit for the duration of the principal applicant’s work permit, irrespective of the skill level of the principal applicant’s occupation (LMIA exemption code A75).
Employer compliance fee
The regulations concerning the International Mobility Program provide that when hiring LMIA-exempt foreign workers,employers must pay an employer compliance fee and submit an Offer of Employment to IRCC.
Some employers may be exempt from paying the employer compliance fee under subsections R303.1(5) and R303.2(2). However, despite the fee exemption, these employers must submit an Offer of Employment.
A work permit application will be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) if
- the employer has not paid the employer compliance fee, as per section R303.1, unless the employer has been exempt from paying the fee under subsection R303.1(5) or 303.2(2); or
- the employer has not submitted an Offer of Employment, as per section R209.11.
Refunds of the employer compliance fee may be initiated if
- the work permit application is refused; or
- the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit and the work permit application is therefore refused.