Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemptions
In order to bring a temporary foreign worker to Canada, a Canadian employer must generally receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). There are several cases, however, where the need for an LMIA may be waived.
Note: Being exempt from obtaining a LMIA does not mean the individual is exempt from obtaining a work permit. All streams on the LMIA exemption list still require the individual to obtain a work permit to work in Canada legally.
Apart from the situations outlined below in this section, Canadian visa officers have a degree of flexibility in assessing whether the issuance of a work permit to a foreign national is desirable without the need for an LMIA to be secured. This is known as a significant social or cultural benefit.
The foreign national’s proposed benefit to Canada through his or her work must be significant, meaning it must be important or notable. Officers typically rely on the testimony of credible, trustworthy, and distinguished experts in the foreign national’s field, as well as any objective evidence provided. The foreign national’s past record is a good indicator of his or her level of achievement.
Objective measures for “significant social or cultural benefit”
an official academic record showing that the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of their ability
- evidence from current or former employers showing that the foreign national has significant full-time experience in the occupation for which he or she is sought (significant in this context can be taken to mean ten or more years experience)
- has been the recipient of national or international awards or patent
- evidence of membership in organizations requiring excellence of its members
- having been the judge of the work of others
- evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the field by peers, governmental organizations, or professional or business associations
- evidence of scientific or scholarly contributions to the field by the foreign national
- publications authored by the foreign national in academic or industry publications; and. or leading role of the foreign national in an organization with a distinguished reputation.
An LMIA exemption may be granted to private entrepreneurs who wish to come to Canada temporarily in order to start or operate a business. Applicants to one of these programs must be the sole or majority owners of the business they wish to pursue in Canada. They will also have to demonstrate that their business will be of significant benefit to Canada. Entrepreneurs are only eligible for LMIA-exempt work permits if they can demonstrate that their work in Canada is temporary in nature. This category is particularly well suited to owners of seasonal businesses. Entrepreneurs who have already applied for Canadian permanent residence may also qualify for LMIA-exempt work permits in this category. Entrepreneurs are only eligible for LMIA-exempt work permits if they can demonstrate that their work in Canada is temporary in nature.
Intra-Company Transferees may be granted an LMIA exemption for a temporary transfer to Canada. Transferees must be considered executives, managers, or specialized knowledge workers, and must work for a foreign company with a qualifying relationship to the company in Canada.
Dependents Of Foreign Workers
Spouses and children of Foreign Workers holding a Canadian work permit for a skilled position do not require a LMIA. Please note that this does not apply to the spouses of workers on an International Exchange Program.
French-Speaking Skilled Workers
Foreign nationals who have been recruited through a francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and Francophone minority communities, and who are destined for a province or territory outside of Quebec and qualified under a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B, may be eligible to work in Canada through Mobilité Francophone.
This includes researchers, guest lecturers, and visiting professors.
Provincial LMIA Exemptions
Workers nominated by a province for permanent residence and who have obtained a job offer in that province may be exempt from the need for an LMIA.
Reciprocal employment agreements allow foreign workers to take up employment in Canada when Canadians have similar reciprocal work opportunities abroad.
Canada is a party to a number of international agreements that facilitate the entry of foreign workers. Admission of foreign workers under these agreements is considered of significant benefit to Canada and, as such, does not require an LMIA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an example of this case.
International Exchange Programs
Canada is a participant in a number of programs for international youth exchange. Such programs include the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa, Student Co-op programs, Young Professionals programs, and teacher exchange programs. These programs are exempt from the need for a LMIA.