Most Canadian work permits require an LMIA or Labour Market Impact Assessment. Employers usually avoid LMIA because it is long, tedious, and time-consuming.
However, there are a few types of work permits that are LMIA-exempt.
Employers in Canada often need to obtain a positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development of Canada (ESDC), before they can employ a foreign worker.
A positive LMIA, also known as a confirmation letter, demonstrates that the employer looked for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the job, but has been unsuccessful, requiring the employer to hire a foreign national.
Moreover, foreign nationals need to submit a copy of their positive LMIA with their LMIA number when applying for a Canadian work permit. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Canadian work permits have three categories; closed, open, and LMIA-exempt closed work permits.
In Canada, most work permits are closed and need a positive LMIA.
Foreign workers are generally issued a closed work permit that requires them to work for a specific employer in a specific position mentioned on their LMIA.
In comparison, an open work permit allows foreign workers to work for any employer or role anywhere in Canada.
In addition, the open work permits do not need an LMIA because they are not tied to a particular employer or occupation.
You also are not required to have a job offer to apply for an open work permit. However, the closed LMIA-exempt work permit holds a middle ground.
These permits do not require an LMIA, but the foreign worker needs to work for a specific employer under a particular position.
Closed Work Permits Jobs That Do Not Require An LMIA
Closed LMIA-exempt work permits allow a foreign national to work for a specified employer in a certain capacity, but they are exempt from the requirement for a positive LMIA.
The type of the job typically determines whether or not a closed work permit is exempt from the LMIA. Below are 7 examples of closed work permits that do not need LMIA.
1. Workers that benefit the Canadian economy
If your company can demonstrate that you will provide a significant social, cultural, or economic value to Canada, you may qualify for this exemption. For instance:
- Mobilité francophone workers
- Intra-company transferees bringing specialized knowledge and skills
- Artists, technical workers, self-employed engineers etc.
2. Canadian interest and reciprocal employment
Through this exception, foreign employees get a chance to work in certain sectors of the Canadian economy, while Canadians can find similar employment overseas. For instance:
- Canadian teams’ professional athletes and coaches
- Professors, visitors, and participants in exchange programs for students
3. Intra-company transfers
Employers from abroad are not required to get an LMIA to transfer employees to a Canadian branch temporarily. It includes employers from international companies and businesses.
For more details, click here.
4. Business owners, entrepreneurs and self-employed
To be given an LMIA exemption, foreign nationals who wish to work for themselves or run their own business while in Canada must prove that doing so will significantly benefit Canadian citizens or permanent residents economically and culturally.
For more details, click here.
5. Programs for international youth exchange
Canada also partakes in a few international youth exchange programs that let young people travel and work without needing an LMIA.
For instance, International Experience Canada offers a Young Professionals category for people who have a job offer in Canada that help in their professional development.
6. International Free Trade Agreements
International Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) may include clauses that make it simpler for entrepreneurs to conduct temporary operations in the member nations. As a result, they are excluded from the LMIA requirement, although foreign workers covered by a relevant FTA typically still need a closed work permit.
7. French-speaking workers
The requirement for an LMIA may not apply to French-speaking skilled workers with a legitimate job offer in a province or territory other than Quebec.
The IMP provides an exemption from the LMIA for the hiring of Francophone or bilingual temporary foreign employees outside of Quebec.
Employers profit from Francophone Mobility in a variety of ways, including the capacity to provide services in both French and English, as well as the development of minority language communities across the country.
For more information on LMIA exemption for francophones, click here.