LMIA Exempt Work Permit

Although, a froeign national requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from a Canadian employer for most of the work permits. But there are certain types of Canadian work permits that are LMIA-exempt.

If a Canadian employer seeks to hire a foreign worker, they should get an LMIA in the first place. LMIA is evidence demonstrating that the employer has made sufficient efforts to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the available position which did not help them. Therefore, they are in need to hire a temporary foreign worker instead.

However, when an international applicant applies for most of the Canadian work permits, he/she is required to hold a positive LMIA and the number of the LMIA should be included in the application. But there are certain exemptions to it.

Below given are the three types of work permits in Canada:

  • Closed Work Permits

  • Open Work Permits

  • Closed LMIA-exempt work permits

Closed work permits are referred to the permits that enable the foreign worker to work at a particular position for a particular employer, as listed on his/her valid LMIA document.

Whereas, an open work permit allows the foreign worker to work in Canada at any position, for any employer, at any location as per his/her discretion. Because these permits are not limited to any specific employment, they do not require an LMIA. Also the applicant does not need any job offer at the time of application of an open work permit.

Closed-work permits to a certain extent are a mix of the two. These enable the foreign national to work in Canada for a particular employer at a specific designation but without any LMIA.

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LMIA-exempt Jobs

This category covers jobs for the closed LMIA-exempt work permits. But the exemption of LMIA depends upon the nature of the job.

Merits to be considered

This exemption is only applicable when the employer is able to demonstrate that the prospective foreign worker will benefit Canada socially, culturally and economically. For instance:

  • Technical jobs, creative and artistic jobs, self-employed engineers, etc.
  • Intra-company transferees who have unique skills and experience that will contribute to the Canadian economy
  • Employees under Mobilite Francophone

Reciprocal Employment

It refers to the opportunity available to the foreign workers to work in Canada within a particular industry where Canadians have similar job opportunities overseas. For instance:

  • Professional athletes and coaches working with sports teams in Canada
  • Academic coaches such as professors, guest lecturers and also the students participating in exchange programs

Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed

This includes the foreign nationals who are looking forward to performing their own business temporarily in Canada. To get a LMIA exemption on this ground, they will have to prove that their business would reap great economic, social or cultural benefits to the country’s citizens and permanent residents.

Intra-company transferees

It becomes unnecessary for a foreign national to have a LMIA when he/she is temporarily transferred within the same employer company’s office in Canada. The position of the foreign national should be executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position.

French-speaking skilled Workers

Foreign nationals who are french speakers and skilled workers with a valid job offer in a province or somewhere outside Quebec may be exempted from requiring LMIA for a Canadian work permit.

International Trade Agreements

Certain international Free Trade Agreements (FTSs) have provisions to simplify it for business people to perform their businesses temporarily in the signed countries. Whereas temporary foreign workers included within an applicable FTA still require a closed work permit, they do not require LMIA. Some of the examples of such trade agreements are:

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
  • Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

International Youth Exchange Programs

Under this program young people are allowed to travel, live and work in Canada without needing an LMIA. For instance, the International Experience Canada’s category of young professionals is applicable to the youth with job offers in Canada that leads to the professional development of the country.

Minister-Designated Exemptions

This exemption is applicable only in particular circumstances and depends on the discretion of the government body of immigration. This includes foreign workers such as:

  • Recognized federal program’s sponsored Academicians, researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors
  • Medical residents and fellows, and people who have received academic awards through Canadian institutions

Note: Being exempt from the LMIA requirement does not imply that the applicant is also exempt from a work permit. While being under one of the categories of LMIA exemption one still requires to obtain a work permit to legally work in Canada.

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