In the majority of situations, a foreign national applying for a work permit must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada.
However, Canada offers specific programs, such as the International Mobility Program that allows for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt work permits. Canada also has bilateral and multilateral agreements with other countries to facilitate the migration of foreign nationals across borders
Under these programs and exemptions, foreign workers may apply to work in Canada without the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement.
There are a variety of exempt programs that allow Canadian employers to hire foreign workers without having to process Labour Market Impact Assessment.
For the LMIA-exempt work permit, the correct exemption code needs to be referenced. Note that the exemption codes changed as of December 2022.
Canadian or International Agreements
Work permits that fall under international agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement are exempt. This can include eligible investors, business visitors, traders, and other professionals. In these cases, the work is deemed a significant benefit to Canada.
Under a Canadian Interest program, where it can be proven that as this exemption must prove that hiring a foreign national poses a significant benefit to Canada and the economy, an LMIA is not required. Reciprocal employment programs between Canada and other countries or another significant benefit may be eligible. IRCC requires the impact to be important or notable.
Employers must be able to show that the foreign worker will provide a significant economic, social, or cultural benefit to Canada. Knowledge experts, visiting professors, creative and performing artists, technical workers, and others may be eligible.
International Exchange Program
Youth international exchange programs, teacher exchange programs, and other such programs are exempt. A working holiday visa is also included under this.
Charitable or Religious Work
Charitable workers or those conducting religious work for a recognized organisation may be eligible for an LMIA exemption.
Academics such as guest lecturing professors or researchers may be exempt.
Private entrepreneurs who have a viable plan to start or run a business in Canada may be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit. To be eligible, entrepreneurial foreign workers must be the sole or majority owner of a company that will have a significant benefit to Canada.
The entrepreneur must prove that the work in Canada will be temporary.
Entrepreneurs who applied for permanent resident status may also be eligible.
Employers may transfer foreign national employees to a subsidiary, parent or affiliate company in Canada. Transferees must be higher-level executives, managers, or specialized knowledge workers (such as proprietary knowledge or advanced expertise), so the transfer significantly improves the business in a way that is beneficial for Canada. The foreign national transfer of a foreign national must be only temporary.
Under this program, countries that don’t require a visa to travel to Canada may enable Canadian work permit applications at the port of entry.
Foreign workers may also be exempt under this category if their work will create a significant benefit to Canadians.
Spouses or Dependents of Skilled Foreign Workers or International Students
Foreign workers’ spouses, common-law partners, and certain dependents, are eligible for LMIA exemption, if the original worker is a full-time international student or a skilled foreign worker. Sponsored spouses and partners of Canadian citizens are also exempt, as are other dependants.
Foreign caregivers brought to Canada to look after children under 18, elderly individuals, or those with specific medical needs may be eligible for an LMIA Exempt Work Permit under the Home Child Care Provider Program or Home Support Worker Program.
The relevant caregiver visa requirements must be met.
An LMIA isn’t necessary for workers nominated by a province for permanent residence. Potential provincial LMIA exemptions workers must have a job offer in the province that nominated them.
Student Co-op Programs and Post Graduate Work Permit
An international student in a program with a co-op work placement or internship or a student working under a post graduate work permit may not require an LMIA.
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds or Other Exemptions
Other LMIA-exempt work permits and circumstances include refugee claimants and others to allow them to support themselves while in Canada.
This includes people with no other means of support, such as refugee claimants or people under an unenforceable removal order.
Vulnerable workers and their family members, such as migrant workers on valid employer-specific work permits who experience or are at risk of abuse, are exempt.
Other humanitarian reasons a worker may be exempt for include being destitute students or protected persons. Holders of a temporary resident permit that is valid for a minimum of six months can be exempt, too.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exempt Employers
There is a small number of LMIA-exempt employers. Job offers from these ensure faster work permit application processes.
Oro Immigration Services can help you determine if you are eligible for an LMIA exempt work permit, or if one of the other Canadian work permits are possible. We can help you with the applications, as well as any dealings with the IRCC.
What are LMIA Exemptions?
LMIA exemptions are specific programs under which foreign nationals can apply for a work permit in Canada without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment. This includes programs like International Mobility Programs and certain agreements between Canada and other countries.
What are some examples of LMIA-Exempt programs?
Examples include Significant Benefit, Intra-Company Transferees, and International Trade Agreements. Other LMIA-exempt work permits include Refugee Claimants, Protected Persons, Post Graduate Work Permit holders, and Spouses of International Students.
Who is eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the Significant Canadian Interest category?
This category requires proving that hiring a foreign national will significantly benefit Canada’s economy, either through reciprocal employment with other countries or by having a notable social or cultural impact.
What is a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) and who is eligible for it?
BOWP allows foreign nationals in Canada, who are awaiting a decision on their permanent residency application, to continue working. To be eligible, applicants must be in Canada, hold a valid work permit, and have applied for permanent residency under specific classes like the Federal skilled worker class or Canadian experience class.