The great majority of individuals applying for a work permit in Canada need a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada which allows employers to hire foreign individuals.
Individuals need to obtain a positive response on the LMIA as well as receive a job offer from their prospective employers before applying for a work permit. They also need to pass all basic eligibility requirements as needed.
However, certain jobs do not require employers to obtain a positive LMIA before hiring foreign individuals, provided they meet certain criteria. Let us note that there is a full list of LMIA-exempt as provided for by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – thus, we will be focusing only on the most common exemptions below.
Jobs that you can get a work permit without LMIA
- Jobs providing a significant cultural or social benefit to Canada;
- Positions that fall under international trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
- Jobs that fall under domestic agreements between the Federal Government of Canada and certain provincial and territorial governments of Canada.
Jobs that provide a significant cultural or social benefit to Canada
You can apply for this exemption if you are either:
- A self-employed entrepreneur,
- An intra-company transferee in a multinational company,
- A skilled worker with proficiency in French.
Foreign entrepreneurs should be able to demonstrate their businesses’ capability to generate significant benefits to Canadian society as well as its economy or culture.
International companies can also transfer their employees to one of their Canadian subsidiaries without LMIA.
Lastly, skilled workers who can demonstrably prove their French proficiency and have job offers outside Quebec may be LMIA-exempt depending on the terms and conditions of their job applications.
Jobs that fall under international trade agreements
Professionals working under international trade agreements such as NAFTA or CETA (Canadian-European Trade Agreement) in particular may work in Canada with an exemption from the LMIA. However, professionals working under this category would generally still require a work permit.
Jobs that fall under domestic federal and provincial/territorial agreements
Certain domestic agreements between federal and provincial/territorial governments grant foreign individuals LMIA exemption. This could be a job under the Provincial Nominee Program – that is, individuals who have obtained a certificate of nomination who have valid job offers in the provinces do not require an LMIA.
Let us note that all LMIA exemption categories we mention here require a valid Canadian work permit. Exemption from LMIA does not mean exclusivity from a work permit.
Do you need more focused advice as to how you can work in Canada without an LMIA? Still unsure whether you qualify for any of the categories? Get in touch with us and take our free online assessment to see your eligibility for this program – our representatives are more than ready, willing, and able to formulate the best way for you to enter Canada depending on your current situation.