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A Guide to LMIA-Exempt Work Permits Canada

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Overview

Canadian employers who wish to hire foreign workers are typically required to 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 offer a brief overview of the various LMIA-exempt scenarios under Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) current rules.

International Agreements and Arrangements

Some 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, albeit they still need a closed work permit. You can find a list of Canadian Free Trade Agreements here.

Example of an International Agreement: CETA

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is an agreement between Canada and the European Union. This agreement offers an LMIA-exemption for business visitors, intra-company transferees, and investors.

Intra-Company Transferees

The Intra-Company transfers (ICT) stream allows highly skilled foreign workers to work inside Canada if they are employed by a multinational company with a Canadian branch. Foreign workers under the Intra-Company Transfer stream 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.

Significant Benefit Exemption

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

Live-in Caregiver

Foreign caregivers who are brought to Canada to look after children under 18, elderly individuals, and those with specific medical needs can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit easily. They can do this through the Home Support Worker Pilot and the Home Child Care Provider programs.

Prospective applicants should ensure they meet the requirements under their chosen caregiver program before applying for their work permit.

Reciprocal Employment Exemption

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

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

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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 offers foreign workers the opportunity to travel to Canada and reside there temporarily 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

Competitiveness and Public Policy Exemption

The Competitiveness and Public Policy Exemption applies to spouses and common-law partners for individuals in specific circumstances.

Spouses or Common-law Partners of Skilled Workers

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 has authorization to legally work 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
  • Current resides in Canada or intends to live there while their spouse or common-law partner is working

The partner must also meet one of the following requirements:

  • Is employed in National Occupation Code (NOC) 0, A, or B occupations. This requirement includes NOC C occupations for workers employed under the special Atlantic Immigration Program.
  • Is employed and possesses a formal nomination pursuant agreement
  • Is employed and possesses a permanent residence certificate in Quebec

Spouses or Common-law Partners of Skilled Workers

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.

How can ELAAR help you?

Prospective foreign workers who wish to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit should contact our experts. Our team of experienced Regulated Immigration Consultants can help guide you with applying for your work permit and moving to Canada. Please contact us today to start the application process and start working in Canada.

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