A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required to be eligible for most work permits in Canada. However, you could be exempt from this requirement for 3 types of occupations:
- Occupations that are listed in an international trade agreement, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Occupations listed in an agreement between the federal and provincial government
- Occupations with significant benefit to Canada
There are 3 types of temporary work permits in Canada:
- Open work permits that allow you to work anywhere in Canada for any employer and do not require a LMIA
- Closed LMIA-exempt work permits that allow you to work with a specific employers in certain occupations but do not require the LMIA
- Closed LMIA work permits that allow you to work with a specific employers in a certain occupations
What Are Closed LMIA-Exempt Work Permits?
Closed LMIA-exempt work permits authorize foreign nationals to work in certain occupations for specific employers and do not require an LMIA. It depends on the nature of the job.
Your occupation could be LMIA-exempt based on:
Provincial LMIA-Exemptions: If you have applied for permanent residence in a province or territory’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and received approval, then you are eligible to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit.
Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed: If you want to own and manage a business in Canada or work as a self-employed person, then you could be granted an LMIA-exemption.
You will be required to demonstrate how you would provide a significant contribution to the Canadian labor market. There are several programs offered for Canadian business immigration such as the Owner Operator LMIA.
If, as an entrepreneur, you have already applied for permanent residency, then you could qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit.
Significant Benefit: Significant benefit is applied when there is evidence that you hiring would provide a social, cultural, or economic value to Canada. Occupations such as creative and performing artists, self-employed engineers and athletes. There are also work permit options for Information technology (IT) workers.
Intra Company Transferees: If you are employed by a multinational with a parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate in Canada, then you can relocate to Canada as an Intra-Company Transferee.
Your employer must meet certain conditions to hire a foreign worker at a highly skilled job in Canada.
Reciprocal Employment: As a temporary foreign worker, you have the opportunity to work in Canada in certain industries when Canadian citizens also have similar opportunities to work in other countries.
Occupations like professional athletes, coaches working with Canadian teams or Professors, guest lecturers, and international students participating in an exchange program are considered.
International Trade Agreements: Canada has trade agreements with different countries, which facilitates business activities between the signatory countries. The foreign workers under these agreements are eligible for a closed LMIA-exempt work permit.
Canada offers hiring of foreign workers under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), etc.
French Speaking Skilled Workers: If you are a French speaking or bilingual skilled worker and have a job offer to work in a Francophone community outside of Quebec, then you could be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit. There is no requirements for you to speak French, as part of the the job duties.
Minister-Designated Exemptions: The Minister of Immigration has granted LMIA exemptions such as those for certain academics, researchers, guest lecturers or for visiting professors.
You could also be granted an LMIA exemption if you are a medical resident and fellow or received an academic award by a Canadian institution.
International Youth Exchange Programs: Canada takes part in various youth exchange programs that allow access to work temporarily in Canada with an LMIA-exemption.
If you have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer that will grow your career, then you can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the Young Professionals category of International Experience Canada. There are other exchange programs available.
Religious Workers: If the main purpose of your work is spiritual’ then you could be eligible for an LMIA-exemption. However, it may vary depending on the nature of the work to be performed.
Dependents of Foreign Workers: If you are an accompanying spouse or partner of a forreign worker, then you may not require an LMIA to apply for an open work permit.
There are a few other circumstances that can grant you an LMIA-exemption such as: