Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemption Work Permits

Work Permits Without LMIAs Immigration To Canada, LMIA exempt

Work Permit Exempt From The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Often, before employers in Canada can hire a foreign worker, they must secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).  A positive LMIA proves that the employer has made best efforts to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. Being unsuccessful in this feat, they need to hire a foreign national instead.

Obtaining an LMIA document can be a lengthy, highly complex, and bureaucratic process, which most employers prefer to avoid. Fortunately, there are some Canadian work permits that are LMIA-exempt.  Meaning, there are some exceptions where a work permit can be issued without an LMIA.

Jobs Exempt From An LMIA

Jobs Associated With International Trade Agreements

There are some International Trade Agreements (FTAs) that allow for people to work temporarily in Canada. However, this is a very selective list and consists of certain professions and occupations. These foreign workers are covered by applicable FTAs and will be able to attain a work permit with an exemption from the LMIA requirement.

Some examples of FTAs that facilitate the movement of people are:

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is now know as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA);
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); and
  • The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Intra-Company Transferees

Another job category that is exempt from LMIA are those for applicants at international companies. International companies can temporarily transfer employees to a Canadian branch without requiring an LMIA. To apply for this exemption, the employee must first be employed by a multi-national company. In addition, they must be seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise.

French-Speaking Skilled Workers

Employers hiring through the Francophone Mobility Program are able to receive a work permit with an LMIA exemption. French-speaking skilled workers with a valid job offer may be exempt from needing an LMIA. To qualify, the job offer must be for a managerial position, a professional position, or a technical position. Also, the job must be in a province or territory outside of Quebec.

In addition, the applicant’s first language can be any language other than French.  However, if that is the case, the applicant may need to have their language abilities assessed. This is done through the applicant taking the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) or  the Test de connaissance du français (TCF). The Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) is an international benchmark test that measures your level of knowledge and skills in French. In contrast, The Test de connaissance du français is a language placement test for non-native speakers of French administered by the French Ministry of Education.

Minister-Designated LMIA Exemptions

The LMIA exemption also applies to specific situations at the discretion of the Minister of Immigration. For example:

  • Academics, researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors who are sponsored through a recognized federal program; or
  • Medical residents and fellows, and people who have received academic awards through Canadian institutions.

Significant Benefit LMIA Exemption

This LMIA exemption applies if your employer is able to prove that you will bring an important social, cultural, or economic benefit to Canada.  Some examples include:

  • Technical workers
  • Creative and performing artists
  • Self-employed engineers
  • Intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge contributing to the Canadian economy through their specialized skills and experience
  • Workers under the Francophone Mobility Program

While these options are available through the other exemptions, they will also apply under this category if the employer is able to prove that the applicant is bringing an additional benefit to Canada.

Reciprocal Employment 

Another LMIA exemption is that of reciprocal employment. This allows foreign workers the opportunity to work in Canada in specific industries. These industries would be those where Canadians would also have similar opportunities in other countries. One example of such industry is that of athletics. Oftentimes, professional athletes and coaches working with Canadian teams fall under this category. In addition, you can also include professors, guest lecturers, and students participating in an exchange program under this category.

International Youth Exchange Programs

Canada also participates in some international youth exchange programs. These programs allow young people to travel to, and work in Canada without requiring an LMIA. One instance under this category is of International Experience Canada for individuals. This will apply for young people with a job offer in Canada that will help them with their professional development.

Entrepreneurs & Self-Employed Individuals

Foreign nationals wanting to operate their own business in Canada need to demonstrate eligibility for this exemption. To qualify, they will need to prove that their business would generate significant economic benefit. In the alternative, they can prove their business would generate significant social benefit. Lastly, they can also prove that their business would generate significant cultural benefits. Regardless of the type of benefit, the benefits must be for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Jobs For Foreign Nationals In Canada With Permanent Residence Applications Pending

Certain foreign nationals currently in Canada are eligible for a work permit to bridge the gap between the expiration of their current work permit and the final decision on their application for permanent residence. However, to qualify, they must have applied for permanent residence under one of the following classes in the past.

  • Federal skilled worker class (FSWC).
  • Canadian experience class (CEC).
  • Federal skilled trades class (FSTC).
  • Provincial nominee class (PNC), for applicants for whom there are no employer restrictions on nominations.
  • Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class (if the APR has been submitted before June 18, 2019).


Kahane Law has on its team a multi-lingual lawyer with a specialty in LMIA-Exempt Work Permits. In addition, our team of experienced immigration professionals are ready to assist you.

Call for a free consultation.  Locally, you can reach Kahane Law at 403-225-8810 in Calgary, Alberta or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817. Or email us directly at [email protected]