Foreign nationals who want to work in Canada should learn about the basic requirements and what their future employer may need to do. In many cases, an employer must get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a foreign worker.
An LMIA is a document from Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada that allows an employer to hire a foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Employers who hire foreign workers through the International Mobility Program:
- do not need an LMIA
- need to pay an employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada through the Employer Portal before you can apply for a work permit.
- This does not apply to employers who wish to hire foreign workers who are eligible to apply for an open work permit.
The following types of workers are exempt from a LMIA, but need a work permit:
Workers covered under international agreements
This group can include:
- People taking part in exchange programs
- youth exchange programs,
- teacher exchange programs and
- other joint programs.
This group can include:
- spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign students who study full time;
- spouses and common-law partners of certain skilled foreign workers; and
- spouses and common-law partners who are in Canada and have been sponsored through the Family Class by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have applied for permanent residence.
- Workers who are eligible for a work permit through a federal-provincial/territorial agreement
- Agreements between the Government of Canada and provincial/territorial governments can include specific exemptions from the LMIA process. Find out if you are eligible to come to Canada through a federal-provincial/territorial agreement.
- Workers nominated by a province or territory for permanent residence
- The worker must have a job offer from an employer based in that province/territory.
- People already working in Canada who have applied for permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or Canadian Experience Class
- The worker must have received a positive eligibility assessment on their permanent residence application and have a work permit that will expire within the next four months to be eligible.
- Repair personnel for industrial or commercial equipment
- The worker must be entering Canada to make emergency repairs to industrial equipment or repairs to out-of-warranty equipment. Failure to complete these repairs could result in a disruption of employment.
- Workers transferred within a company
- workers who have been transferred to their company’s Canadian operations.
- researchers, guest lecturers, visiting professors and others.
- Co-op students
- international students studying in Canada and doing co-op work placements or internships as part of their study program.
- Religious workers
- people doing charitable or religious work.
- Workers who are essential to a television or film production, if:
- the production will create and maintain significant economic benefits for Canadians and permanent residents, and
- the job is high wage and unionized.
- Performers or workers in a related job in dance (such as ballet and contemporary), opera, orchestral music or live theatre whose employer:
- is a Canadian non-profit performing arts company or organization,
- receives federal funding, and
- can show that reciprocal opportunities exist for Canadians and permanent residents abroad in the same discipline.
- Francophones, if they:
- will live and work in a Francophone community outside Quebec,
- have been recruited through a Francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and francophone minority community stakeholders,
- use French on a daily basis, and
- will work in a job at a National Occupation Code (NOC) skill level of 0, A or B.
If you are already working in Canada under an LMIA exemption for Francophones, you can apply to extend your work permit.
- Workers who will be interns with international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, for example: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), or a diplomatic mission of a foreign government.
Find out how to apply for a work permit as an intern with international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act.
- people who need to support themselves while they are in Canada, such as those waiting on a refugee claim.
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