In most cases, a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required to apply for Canadian work permits. Although typically required, it is not necessary for a Canadian employer to obtain it in order to hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW). There are some types of Canadian work permits that are LMIA-exempt and it is possible through the International Mobility Program (IMP).
What is International Mobility Program (IMP)?
The International Mobility Program (IMP) lets employers hire foreign workers without requiring LMIA. The exemption is based if foreign nationals bring broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada or offer reciprocal benefits for Canadians and permanent residents.
Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemptions
The following individuals are LMIA-exempt:
Workers covered by International Agreements
This allows investors, traders, business visitors, and other professionals who are under agreements [North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Canada Columbia FTA and Canada Peru FTA] to obtain work permits without LMIA.
No LMIA is necessary for workers nominated by a province or selected (in the case of Quebec) for permanent residence, provided that they have a job offer in the province where they hold their certificate of nomination or selection.
LMIA is unnecessary when a foreign branch or subsidiary of a Canadian company temporarily transfers an employee to Canada in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position.
Participants in an International Exchange Program
Also exempt are people taking part in exchange programs such as youth exchange programs [SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program), IEC (International Experience Canada), and the Working Holiday Visa], teacher exchange programs and other joint exchange programs.
This exemption applies not only to individuals who studied and were granted a PhD from a Canadian university, but for any individual on a post-doctoral fellowship at an institution in Canada, regardless of the country where they studied. Certain academics may be exempt from an LMIA, including researchers, visiting professors, and guest lecturers.
International students studying in Canada and doing co-op work placements or internships as part of their studies do not need to obtain LMIA.
Charitable or Religious Workers
Foreign workers in Canada who are working for a charitable recognized organization or religious institution may also be exempt from an LMIA.
Dependants, spouses and common-law partners of full-time foreign students or foreign workers Spouses and common-law partners of Canadians who have sponsored them in Canada and who have obtained approval of the Canadian sponsor may also be exempt from LMIA requirement. Other dependants may also be exempt, such as the children of foreign workers with valid work permits. However, this does not apply to the spouses of working holiday visa holders.
It is important to note that being exempt from obtaining LMIA does not mean that the foreign national is exempt from obtaining a Work Permit. Take note that all categories on the exemption list still require the foreign national to obtain a Work Permit in order to work in Canada. If you want to know which LMIA-exempt category may be best for your employer or employee, contact us now and we will help you determine which suits your profile.