The new IMP C11 work permit requirements

IMP C11 work permit in Canada

Robert is a citizen of the small country of Micronesia. He is a self-employed person who makes handmade porcelain figurines. Robert runs pop-up shops in the Caribbean and sells his products. Interestingly, one of his friends tells him he may open a pop-up store in Canada to sell his unique products there. However, he needs to obtain a work permit under IMP C11. Robert can’t wait to apply for this LMIA-exempt permit.

What is IMP C11?

In most circumstances, you need a work permit to work in Canada. However, even before applying for a work permit, you must apply for an LMIA through Service Canada (ESDC). The LMIA application ensures that hiring a foreign national will not harm the Canadian job market. Nonetheless, there are circumstances in that IRCC exempts people from the requirements of LMIA. In other words, you may directly apply for a work permit without an LMIA. The International Mobility Program, or IMP, covers all LMIA exemption codes. Therefore, when we say IMP C11, we refer to the LMIA exemption code C11.

This code covers self-employed people and entrepreneurs. IRCC updated the instructions for IMP C11 on Nov 21, 2022. However, they retroactively applied these changes. Therefore, the current article affects your work permit application regardless of the time you submit it. Furthermore, it affects future applications, both online and port of entry.

IMP C11 basics for entrepreneurs and self-employed people

Under the new approach, a self-employed person makes a living from their profession. Moreover, they rarely hire anyone other than their family members. Entrepreneurs take more significant financial risks and usually hire people other than their family members. To qualify for a C11 exemption, an entrepreneur or a self-employed person must satisfy the officer they meet the following criteria:

  • They intend to stay in Canada temporarily. Therefore, their work is seasonal. However, they may still qualify for year-round businesses if they prove they will replace themselves with a Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada after a temporary stay in Canada.
  • Their work generates significant benefits in one or more of the following areas.
    • Economic,
    • cultural,
    • social, or
    • creating opportunities for Canadians or permanent residents of Canada.
  • They meet both the qualifications as an employer and an employee.
  • While the business could be a corporation or another type, they must prove they own at least 50% of the business.
  • The documentary evidence must support all their claims.

Significant benefits under IMP C11

IRCC divides significant benefits for IMP C11 into three major categories: (1) Economic, (2) Social, and (3) Cultural.

Significant economic benefits

IRCC offers the following guidelines for assessing significant benefits.

  • Creating job opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents
  • Using their expertise in developing a business that benefits the Canadian economy
  • Contributing to a Canadian industry via innovation, job creation, and market expansion
  • Assisting an activity that promotes growth and job creation in a community
  • Creating training and job opportunities for Canadians, permanent residents, and registered Indians
  • Offering economic stimulus in remote areas

This list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. However, it offers us ideas about how IRCC processes C11 applications.

Significant social benefits

We could consider the following as social benefits for IMP C11. Of course, I refer to how IRCC looks at these benefits.

  • Promoting communities (especially their pride and heritage)
  • Encouraging investment in the local tourism industry (amenities and other resources)
  • Addressing safety and health threats to Canadians and permanent residents
  • Advancing social inclusion in communities
  • Contributing to improving environmental considerations via developing unique products and services

Significant cultural benefits

An IMP C11 work permit candidate could show their ability to make cultural contributions via the following factors. Of course, this list is just a guideline:

  • Their previous national or international artistic awards or recognitions
  • Membership in highly-regarded cultural organizations
  • Acting as a judge to review the work of other artists
  • Recognition by their peers, government bodies, etc.
  • Significant scholarly contributions
  • Industry or scientific publications
  • The leadership of an esteemed organization
  • Being a celebrity in their cultural field

Assessment factors for IMP C11

Officers consider the following assessment factors when reviewing an IMP C11 work permit application. Of course, the burden of proof is on you. Therefore, present as many documents as you can.

  • Will the employment result in significant benefits?
  • Has the applicant shown their language skills are enough for the position?
  • Can the applicant’s skills and experience contribute to the viability of the business?
  • Is there a detailed business plan that supports the applicant’s work in Canada?
  • Have they taken measures to establish the business in Canada?
  • Is the business of temporary nature (e.g., seasonal businesses)?
  • Does the applicant need to remain in Canada long-term (a negative factor)?
  • Does the applicant own at least 50% of the business?
  • Do they qualify for a work permit under the provisions of section 200 of the Immigration Regulations?

While the officers may consider dual intent or long-term work permits in exceptional circumstances, the new IMP C11 favours short-term work permits.

IMP C11 for PNP and Quebec candidates

Sometimes an applicant receives a nomination for business immigration to a province or under the Quebec self-employed program. They could use IMP C11 to obtain a work permit in these circumstances. However, consult with a professional to assess your options. Moreover, if you are a Start-Up Visa candidate, you could qualify for a Bridging Open Work Permit (IMP A75) instead of IMP C11.

Special cases for IMP C11

IRCC considers IMP C11 for the following special cases:

  • Fishing guides (Canadian lakes)
  • Foreign camp owners or directors and outfitters
  • Foreign freelance race jockeys

If these apply to you, book a consultation session with me.


If you do not qualify for an IMP C11 work permit, you could still qualify under other programs. Here are some examples:

We can explore your options if you book a consultation session with me.

Let us help!

If you intend to apply for a work permit under IMP C11, your best bet is to book a consultation session with me. Alternatively, you may fill out the following form. For other options, either book a consultation session or fill out our assessment forms.

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    How many years of recent work experience do you have as a business owner or senior manager?

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    How much do you intent to invest (in Canadian dollars):

    Do you have access to liquid assets for this investment?

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.