LMIA-Exempt Canadian Work Permits

In order to apply for a Canadian work permit, an applicant requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, there are a number of exemptions to this rule. Here is a list of programs that are exempted from the LMIA requirements known as International Mobility Programs.

International Free Trade Agreements - This category provides Canadian work permits for investors, traders, business visitors, and other professionals who come under agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business - Private entrepreneurs who want to operate a business in Canada can get eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit if they meet the following requirements:

  • Must have sole or majority ownership of the company
  • Business should contribute to Canada’s economy
  • Demonstrate that the work performed in Canada will be temporary

Entrepreneurs who seek Canadian permanent resident status may also qualify for LMIA exemption.

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Intra-company transferees - Foreign workers who have been working in a branch or parent Canadian company abroad and coming to join a managerial position are exempted from labor market opinion.

Emergency repair personnel or repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipment – Individuals who are required in Canada to undertake emergency repairs of industrial equipment in order to ensure smooth business operation. They require work permits, and are exempt from an LMIA.

Television and film production workers – Facilitates entry for individuals who can serve and attract high-value TV and film production in Canada.

Mobilité francophone – Facilitating entry to French speaking foreign nationals who have been selected through a Francophone immigration promotional event.

Commercial airline reciprocal employment agreements – Facilitates foreign workers to take up employment in Canada when Canadians have similar work opportunities in abroad.

International Experience Canada - International Experience Canada (IEC) is a great opportunity for both personal and professional growth by traveling and working abroad. Foreign nationals can participate in the program under three categories:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op (Internship)

Academic exchanges - Certain academics may be exempt from an LMIA, including researchers, visiting professors, and guest lecturers.

Performing arts – Allowing entry of foreign nationals working in dance (e.g., ballet, contemporary), opera, orchestra and live theater.

Work related to a research, educational or training program – Foreign nationals are exempted from LMIA when they come to Canada for a research, educational or training purpose and meet all the required criteria.

Public policy, competitiveness and economy – Under this category, various other programs are included such as post-graduation employment, spouse of skilled workers and more.

Charitable or religious work - Foreign workers in Canada who are working for a charitable organization or religious institution.