A Diverse Workforce in a Growing Economy


Some temporary workers who come to Canada may be able to do so without the requirements of an LMIA. While the LMIA is not required, a work permit is still needed. The most common examples of when an LMIA isn’t required is when the work is of Significant Benefit, Reciprocal Employment or that of a Charitable and Religious Worker. Because a work permit is still required, it’s advisable to get started as early as possible on the application to avoid any delays if the activities to be performed are time-sensitive.

The Significant Benefit stream is for those whose work is significant and notable, such as that of a professor or someone who has received national or international acclaim among other situations or entrepreneurs wishing to start a business of benefit to Canada, French-speaking skilled workers and others.

Canadian visa officers have a certain amount of flexibility in determining if issuing a work permit to a foreign worker is of a significant social or cultural benefit. The work must be important or notable and this determination would apply on the input of experts within the field – although the foreign worker’s past record is often seen as a good indication of achievement.

Significant social or cultural benefit can be determined a variety of ways including whether the foreign worker has judged the work of others in the field, has taken a leading role in an organization with a distinguished reputation, has significant full-time experience in the field, has received national or international awards or patents and other measures. This may include entrepreneurs or self-employed persons, intra-company transfers, dependents of foreign workers, French speaking skilled workers, academics and those nominated by a province or territory for permanent residence with a job offer.

The Reciprocal Employment stream is when the foreign worker takes up employment in Canada while a Canadian has a similar work opportunity abroad. This may be part of an international agreement that shows the admission of foreign workers is of significant benefit due to an international trade (or other) agreement, or maybe part of an international exchange program such as student, co-op programs, young professional programs and teacher exchanges.

The Charitable and Religious Worker stream is when the worker is not a volunteer, but is someone who provides beneficial charity work to the community. This is in the case of relief of poverty, advancement of education or other purposes that bring benefit to Canadian communities.

As temporary workers, these individuals do not require an LMIA and if the organization is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charity it will make proving the case of a charitable worker easier.

Keep in mind that a charitable worker requires work permit where a volunteer (who is not paid and therefore doesn’t enter the labour market) does not. Charitable workers are paid for their work.

For religious workers, the foreign national must show their primary role is to provide certain religious instruction or promote the religion.

If you think you might be able to work without an LMIA, contact us and we can help.