International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU)

The International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU) provides opinions on whether or not you (the employer), and the temporary foreign worker you want to hire are exempt from:

  • getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • the work permit requirement

You can request an opinion from the IMWU to find out if an LMIA or work permit exemption applies to your situation. The temporary foreign worker must be:

  • located outside Canada
  • from a country whose nationals are visa-exempt

If the temporary foreign worker does not meet these requirements, you aren’t able to use the IMWU. Instead, the temporary foreign worker must apply for a work permit. The officer who processes the work permit application determines if an LMIA or work permit exemption applies. This happens at the visa office, a port of entry (POE) or a case processing centre.

Request an opinion

To request an opinion from the IMWU, send an email to and include the following:

  • a copy of the biographic data page of the temporary foreign worker’s passport
  • supporting documentation such as
    • a letter explaining the details of the Canadian company and their staffing needs
    • a job offer or employment contract
    • the temporary foreign worker’s curriculum vitae (CV)
    • the temporary foreign worker’s diploma, if applicable
    • any other pertinent document according to the selected exemption code
  • a complete Request for an Opinion on Work Permit or LMIA exemption form [IMM 5686]
    • the LMIA exemption or work permit exemption code that is most relevant to your hiring situation

The IMWU assesses the supporting documents and employment offer to give an opinion on whether or not an LMIA or work permit exemption applies to your situation.

All documents should be scanned and sent by email. The total size of the email can’t be larger than 4 MB.

Processing times

Opinions are issued within 2 weeks (14 calendar days). Opinion requests should be submitted to the IMWU at least 30 days before the date that the temporary foreign worker plans to enter Canada.

Final decision

The border services officer at the POE makes:

  • the final decision to approve an LMIA exemption, work permit exemption or both
  • an assessment of admissibility of the temporary foreign worker

The opinion provided by the IMWU may be considered by the border services officer but will not guarantee:

  • that the temporary foreign worker will be exempt from needing an LMIA or work permit
  • entry into Canada