IMP (International Mobility Program) Canada


The International Mobility Program (IMP) is a program in Canada that facilitates the entry of foreign workers through various work permit streams. It provides opportunities for both employers and employees to benefit from international work experience while contributing to Canada’s economic growth. In this article, we will explore the different categories under the IMP, its benefits, eligibility criteria, application process, and more.

1. Introduction

The International Mobility Program, also known as IMP, is a program implemented by the Canadian government to attract global talent and foster international collaboration. It offers a range of work permit categories that allow foreign workers to contribute their skills and expertise to the Canadian workforce. The primary goal of the IMP is to fill labour market gaps in Canada and promote economic development.

2. Categories under the IMP

The IMP encompasses several categories that cater to different types of workers. These categories include:

2.1 Intra-Company Transfers

Intra-Company Transfers allow multinational companies with a presence in Canada to transfer key employees to their Canadian branch. This category enables companies to maintain operational efficiency while providing opportunities for employees to gain international experience within the organization.

2.2 International Experience Canada

The International Experience Canada (IEC) category targets young individuals who wish to travel and work in Canada temporarily. Under this category, participants from partner countries can apply for a work permit through programs such as Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.This category fosters cultural exchange and provides young professionals with invaluable international exposure.

2.3 Significant Benefit

The Significant Benefit category is designed for foreign workers who can make significant contributions to Canada’s economic, cultural, or social growth. Applicants under this category must provide evidence of their unique skills, expertise, or experience that would be beneficial to Canada.

2.4 Spousal Open Work Permit

The Spousal Open Work Permit category allows the spouses or common-law partners of certain Canadian residents or citizens to work in Canada. This category aims to support family reunification by granting work permits to spouses, enabling them to contribute to the Canadian workforce.

2.5 Bridging Open Work Permit

The Bridging Open Work Permit category caters to individuals who are already in Canada and have submitted an application for permanent residency. This category allows applicants to bridge the gap between the expiry of their current work permit and the final decision on their permanent residency application.

2.6 Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream is a fast-track work permit category that targets highly skilled foreign workers in designated occupations. This category aims to attract global talent to fill labour shortages in specific sectors. The Global Talent Stream offers expedited processing times for work permit applications and prioritizes innovation-driven industries.

2.7 Others

In addition to the aforementioned categories, the IMP includes various other streams such as academic exchanges, research programs, and reciprocal employment programs with specific countries. These streams provide opportunities for individuals to engage in specialized work and research in Canada.

3. Benefits of IMP

The IMP offers several benefits to both employers and employees:

3.1 Facilitates international work experience

The IMP allows individuals to gain valuable international work experience in Canada, contributing to their professional growth and broadening their horizons. Working in a different cultural and business environment enhances skills such as adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and problem-solving, which are highly valued in today’s globalized world.

3.2 Expedites work permit processing

Compared to other work permit programs, the IMP generally has faster processing times. This allows employers to fill immediate labour market needs efficiently and enables employees to commence work in Canada sooner, reducing delays and facilitating smoother transitions.

3.3 Promotes economic growth

By atracting skilled foreign workers, the IMP helps address labour market shortages in Canada. This, in turn, contributes to the country’s economic growth and development. The program encourages innovation, knowledge sharing, and collaboration between international and Canadian professionals, fostering a vibrant and competitive business environment.

3.4 Enhances cultural diversity

The IMP promotes cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding in Canadian workplaces. By welcoming workers from different countries and backgrounds, the program enriches the cultural fabric of the country. It encourages the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and best practices, leading to more inclusive and globally aware organizations.

4. Eligibility Criteria

To participate in the IMP, both employers and employees must meet certain requirements. These requirements vary depending on the specific work permit category and the circumstances of the applicant. Here are some key eligibility criteria:

4.1 Employer requirements

Employers must be eligible to hire foreign workers and demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian labour market. They may need to obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or meet specific criteria for LMIA-exempt categories.

4.2 Employee requirements

Employees must possess the necessary qualifications, skills, or work experience required for the specific work permit category. They must also meet health and security requirements and demonstrate their intention to leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

4.3 Valid job offer

In most cases, employees must have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer before applying for an IMP work permit. The job offer should meet certain criteria, such as offering competitive wages, complying with labour laws, and providing suitable working conditions.

5. Work Permit Duration and Extensions

The initial duration of an IMP work permit depends on the specific category and the employment period specified in the job offer. Work permits issued under the IMP can generally be extended beyond the initial duration, subject to eligibility criteria. Moreover, participating in the IMP may provide avenues for individuals to pursue permanent residency in Canada.

5.1 Initial work permit duration

The initial duration of an IMP work permit can range from a few months to several years, depending on the category and the specific circumstances of the applicant. Some work permits may be issued for a specific job or project duration, while others may have open-ended validity.

5.2 Extension possibilities

Extensions for IMP work permits are possible in many cases, allowing individuals to continue working in Canada beyond the initial duration. However, extensions may require meeting certain criteria, such as demonstrating ongoing employment, complying with program rules, and fulfilling any additional requirements specified by the relevant authorities.

5.3 Permanent residency options

Participating in the IMP can provide potential pathways to permanent residency in Canada. Many work permit categories under the IMP are aligned with existing immigration programs, enabling individuals to transition from temporary work permits to permanent resident status. This allows foreign workers to establish themselves in Canada and contribute to the country’s long-term growth.

6. Application Process

The application process for the IMP involves active participation from both employers and employees. Here’s a general overview of the process:

6.1 Employer’s Role

Employers must fulfill specific obligations, such as obtaining an LMIA (if required), providing a valid job offer, and demonstrating compliance with relevant employment standards and regulations. They must also submit the necessary documentation to support the employee’s work permit application.

6.2 Employee’s Role

Employees must gather the required documents, which may include educational credentials, work experience letters, and valid passports. They must complete the appropriate application forms, pay the necessary fees, and undergo medical examinations if required. Employees should also provide any additional documentation as specified by the immigration authorities.

6.3 Required documentation

The documentation required for an IMP work permit application typically includes:
• Valid job offer letter
• Proof of educational qualifications
• Passport or travel documents
• Police clearance certificate (if applicable)
• Biometrics (fingerprints and photograph)
• Application forms
• Application fee payment confirmation
It is essential to consult the official government websites or seek professional guidance to ensure accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific documentation requirements for each work permit category.

7. FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the International Mobility Program:

7.1 Can students participate in the IMP?

Yes, students can participate in the IMP under certain circumstances. For example, international students who have completed a program at a designated Canadian learning institution may be eligible for postgraduation work permits, allowing them to gain work experience in Canada.

7.2 Can IMP participants bring their families?

In many cases, IMP participants can bring their families to Canada. Spouses or common-law partners of IMP work permit holders may be eligible for spousal open work permits. Dependent children may also accompany their parents to Canada and may be eligible to study in Canadian schools.

7.3 What is the Global Talent Stream?

The Global Talent Stream is a component of the IMP that expedites the processing of work permits for highly skilled workers in specific occupations. It aims to attract global talent to fill labour shortages in areas such as technology, engineering, and research.

7.4 Can someone apply for permanent residency through IMP?

Yes, participation in the IMP can provide individuals with opportunities to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Many work permit categories under the IMP are aligned with existing immigration programs, allowing participants to transition to permanent resident status.

7.5 How long does it take to process an IMP work permit?

Processing times for IMP work permits vary depending on factors such as the specific work permit category, the volume of applications, and the complexity of individual cases. Generally, the government strives to process work permit applications as quickly as possible, and processing times may be shorter for certain categories under the IMP.

8. Conclusion

The International Mobility Program (IMP) plays a crucial role in attracting global talent and promoting economic growth in Canada. By offering various work permit categories, the IMP provides opportunities for international work experience, expedited processing, and the enrichment of Canadian workplaces through cultural diversity. Employers and employees need to understand the eligibility criteria, application process, and potential pathways to permanent residency when considering participation in the IMP.


1. Can students participate in the IMP?
2. Can IMP participants bring their families?
3. What is the Global Talent Stream?
4. Can someone apply for permanent residency through IMP?
5. How long does it take to process an IMP work permit?