A Complete Guide to LMIA Exempt Work Permit Canada

Hire temporary foreign workers without a positive LMIA requirement. A comprehensive guide to LMIA Exempt Work Permit and its different exemptions.

Most foreign workers who wish to work in Canada require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This unique document is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). It allows Canadian companies to hire foreign workers to fill labour shortages in certain occupations. This guide will examine the different types of LMIA, their requirements, and the application process.

What does LMIA-Exemption mean?

Canadian employers who wish to hire foreign workers must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring their prospective recruit. Employers who successfully complete this assessment can aid their future employees in applying for a Canadian work permit. Foreign workers in specific occupations or situations may be exempt from having to complete an LMIA.

This guide will briefly overview the various LMIA-exempt scenarios under Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) current rules.

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Types of LMIA Exempt Work Permits

These are some LMIA Exempt Work Permits that enable Canadian firms to make a job offer to competent overseas workers without having to go through LMIA Work Permit Process.

1. International Agreements and Arrangements

International Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) make it easier for businesses to work temporarily in the nations that have signed them. Foreign workers covered by an applicable FTA are free from the LMIA requirement, although they still need a closed work permit. You can find a list of Canadian Free Trade Agreements here.

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)
  • Canada-Chile FTA / Canada-Peru FTA / Canada-Colombia FTA / Canada-Korea FTA
  • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
  • Agreement on Trade Continuity between Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

2. Intra-Company Transfer Canada (ICT Work Permit)

The Intra Company Transfer Canada (ICT Work Permit) allows highly skilled foreign workers to work inside Canada if they are employed by a multinational company with a Canadian branch. Also, it allows foreign entrepreneurs to expand their business to Canada and apply for the ICT Work Permit. Entrepreneurs and Foreign workers under the Intra Company Transfer must meet the following requirements:

  • The prospective foreign worker must be employed by a multinational company and intend to work at the company’s affiliate, parent, or subsidiary branch in Canada.
  • The occupation must be an executive or senior management level position. Occupations that do not fit this requirement may still qualify if they require specialized knowledge.
  • The prospective foreign worker must have been employed by the multinational company for a minimum of one year in the three years preceding their application.

A Detailed Guide on Intra Company Transfer from India to Canada

3. Significant Benefit Exemption

Canadian employers may be exempt from completing an LMIA if they can demonstrate that the foreign worker they are bringing to Canada offers significant economic, social, and cultural benefits. This includes:

  • Creative and performing artists, technical workers, and self-employed engineers
  • Workers classified under the Mobilité francophone program
  • Intra-company transferees who possess specialized knowledge that may benefit Canadians.

4. Caregiver Programs

Foreign caregivers brought to Canada to look after children under 18, elderly individuals, and those with specific medical needs can easily apply for an LMIA Exempt Work Permit. They can do this through the Home Child Care Provider Program Canada and the Home Support Worker Program Canada.

Prospective applicants should ensure they meet their chosen Caregiver Visa requirements before applying for their work permit.

5. Reciprocal Employment Exemption

Foreign workers are exempt from completing an LMIA if the Canadians working outside Canada balance out their jobs in Canada. This applies to the following occupations:

  • Fishing guides
  • United States Government Workers
  • Residential camp counselors
  • Professors and visiting lecturers
  • People in the performing arts

6. International Experience Canada Program

Individuals who are part of the International Experience Canada program can apply for an LMIA-exempt open work permit. This program allows foreign workers to travel to Canada and temporarily reside there while they work.

Countries Participating in IEC

The following countries are currently recognized and are participating under the International Experience Canada Program:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France

7. Competitiveness and Public Policy Exemption

The Competitiveness and Public Policy Exemption applies to spouses and common-law partners for individuals in specific circumstances. Spouses and common-law partners can apply for an LMIA Exempt Work Permit if their partner meets the following requirements:

  • Holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work legally in Canada.
  • Has the authorization to work in Canada for a minimum of six months after their spouses’ work permit application is received
  • Is presently in a legitimate relationship with their spouse or common-law partner
  • Currently resides in Canada or intends to live there while their spouse or common-law partner is working.

Spouses and common-law partners can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit if their partner is an international student who also meets the following requirements:

  • They are studying at a public college, university, and trade school.
  • Their public or private education program is longer than 900 hours and will lead to them receiving a diploma.
  • They are studying at a private Canadian education institution in one of the programs recognized for this LMIA exemption.

Learn more: Spousal Open Work Permit

LMIA Exemption Code List Canada

Act or RegulationExemption Code
Public policiesR01
Canada–International Non-Trade AgreementsT11
Trader (FTA)T21
Investor (FTA)T22
Professional/technician (FTA)T23
Intra-company transferee (FTA)T24
Spouse (Colombia or Korea FTA)T25
GATS professionalT33
Investor (CETA/CUKTCA)T46
Contractual service supplier (CETA/CUKTCA)T47
Engineering technologists and scientific technologists (CETA/ CUKTCA)T48
Independent professional (CETA/CUKTCA)T43
Intra-corporate (company) transferee (CETA/CUKTCA)T44
Investor (CPTPP)T50
Intra-company transferee (CPTPP)T51
Professional or technician (CPTPP)T52
Spouse (CPTPP)T53
Significant benefitC10
Entrepreneurs: Self-employed or potential provincial nominee as an entrepreneurC11
Intra-company transfereesC21
Emergency repair or repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipmentC13
Television and film production workersC14
Rural and Northern Immigration PilotC15
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot spousesC17
Francophone mobilityC16
Live-in caregivers whose permanent residence application is submittedA71
Caregivers under the HCCP or HSWPC90
Spouses and dependants under the HCCPP or HSWPC91
Permanent resident facilitation work permit categoriesA75
Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders currently outside QuebecA76
Reciprocal employmentC20
International Experience Canada ProgramC21
Academic exchanges (professors, visiting lecturers)C22
Performing artsC23
Research - Educational co-op – post-secondaryC32
Research - Educational co-op – secondary levelC33
Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workersC41
Spouses or common-law partners of full-time studentsC42
Post-grad employmentC43
Post-doctoral Ph.D. fellows and award recipientsC44
Medical residents and fellowsC45
Religious workC50
Charitable workC50
Refugee claimantsS61
Persons under an unenforceable removal orderS62
Permanent residence applicants in CanadaA70
Vulnerable workersA72
Family member of vulnerable workerA72
Destitute studentsH81
Holders of a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of six monthsH82
lmia exempt work permit requirements

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