Working in Canada - LMIA Exempt Countries

June 17, 2021


  • Theresa Bernardo

One of the biggest things people from all over the world consider with immigration to the Great White North, whether it’s their next or far-in-the-future move, is working in Canada.

Can anyone get a working visa in Canada, or is it reserved for a selected group of people? Well, you’re in luck. You can start working in Canada in as little as six months. That is, with the right program and meeting the necessary skills and requirements, including qualifying for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

What is an LMIA?

If you are struggling to find a job in Canada, it may be that the job you are looking for is not exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document required by many Canadian employers before they can hire a foreign worker. Some foreign employers do allow foreigners to live and work temporarily in Canada without requiring an LMIA, yet are still categorized under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which require LMIAs and other immigration programs that enable applicants to claim points for having an employment opportunity in the country.

As a person that wants to apply for a job in Canada, if you have an LMIA or still need to apply for one, you must ensure that you have a positive LMIA status that shows that your employer wasn’t able to fill a certain job in Canada with a resident suitable for the position. If you get a negative LMIA status, it will show that there are sufficient permanent or Canadian resident candidates that can fill the job.

A positive LMIA status will indicate whether it is required for a foreigner to fill a job, which increases your chances of landing the job you are applying for.

Canadian employers have a list of requirements that must be met to receive a positive LMIA, which includes:

  • Show that they were unsuccessful to fill a job locally

The employer must previously have advertised a vacant position for at least 4four consecutive weeks in the past three months before submitting an LMIA application.

  • Develop a transition or labour market benefits plan

Employers must produce a transition plan that should be submitted with the candidate’s LMIA application. A transition plan must describe the attempts that an employer has made to undertake, employ, retain, and train permanent residents or Canadians to reduce employers’ reliance on TFWP. Any highly skilled positions that get filled by a foreigner in Canada are beneficial to the Canadian market and are what they aim for, with caregivers, roles under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program or Agricultural stream, time-limiting jobs, and jobs that very few people have been exempted from.

  • Create an employment contract

All employment contracts must be prepped and signed by an employer, along with the temporary foreign worker to make sure that each party involved is aware of their obligations and rights. Temporary foreign workers are required to sign it before moving to Canada.

  • Meet additional requirements for low-wage roles

Employers must ensure that employee benefits, including affordable housing, transportation, and healthcare should be arranged for low-wage foreign workers. The governing body, Employment, Social Development Canada (ESDC), must conduct inspections to ensure that all employers keep to this requirement.

  • Pay LMIA application fees

All employers are required to pay a CAD $1,000 fee for the Labour Market Impact Assessment application. The only time employers are exempt from paying this application fee is when they hire through the Agricultural Worker Streams and Caregiver Stream. LMIA’s are valid for six6 months after it is issued to an employer in Canada. During this period is when potential applicants may apply for a job from the relevant employer.

LMIA is necessary for many companies today because Canada’s economy continues to grow as job markets expand. With proof that there isn’t a Canadian worker or a local permanent resident that can fill a job, especially taking into consideration skills, education, and work experience, the employer must apply for an LMIA.

As soon as an employer receives an LMIA, which is also referred to as a confirmation letter, the candidate can apply for a work permit, which requires the following documentation:

  • Job offer letter
  • Contract
  • Copy of the LMIA
  • LMIA number

The LMIA process is quite labor-intensive and requires the potential candidate to submit all the above-mentioned supporting documents.

Do You Need an LMIA?

No matter where you live in the world, if you would like to get a job in Canada and need an LMIA, you can get one if you are:

  • An in-home caregiver
  • A foreign research academic
  • An agricultural worker
  • Applying through the TFWP
  • Foreign worker program
  • Someone with an interest to work in Quebec

However, you do not need an LMIA if you are:

  • A Canadian social and cultural interests worker
  • Awaiting permanent residency
  • Intra company transfers
  • Applying for the international mobility program
  • Applying for international free trade agreements

An LMIA-exemption occurs when a Canadian employer doesn’t not have to apply for LMIA when they hire a foreign worker, which is typically arranged through the International Mobility Program (IMP).

The IMP was designed to allow Canadian employers to hire workers abroad without the LMIA process under selected programs, like the TFWP. The IMP’s purpose is to help foreign workers get to Canada to improve Canada’s cultural and economic development in various ways.

Employers can make use of IMP to hire foreign workers, but must meet the following requirements to do so:

  • Pay a compliance fee
  • Prove that a job or worker meets the necessary requirements for LMIA-exemption
  • Submit a job offer through the IMP Employer Portal

LMIA-Exempt Work Permit Programs

Two people shaking hands

To get an LMIA-exempt work permit, there are a few programs that you can choose from that will allow you to work for just about any employer in Canada, should you meet all the requirements for the roles that they have to offer.

Open work permit programs include:

  • Post-Graduate work Permit
  • Bridging Open Work Permit
  • International Experience Canada (IEC)
  • Inland Spousal or Common-Law Sponsorship Program

Apart from these leading LMIA-exempt work permit programs, there are a few more ways that you can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit, one of which is through the Global Talent Stream (GTS), which has been created to bring highly skilled and talented professionals to Canada through fast-tracked visa processing. The Global Talent Stream has helped Canada gain many qualified professionals to contribute to the growing economy of the country. Any employers hiring skilled professionals under the GTS are set to receive a positive LMIA.

Another way you can apply for an LMIA-exemption is through an international agreement that Canada holds with certain countries.These international agreements include:

  • North American Free Trade Agreement
  • General Agreement On Trade and Services
  • Canada-Chile FTA/ Canada-Peru FTA/ Canada-Columbia FTA/Canada-Korea FTA/
  • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

More alternative options to apply include, Canada interest exemptions, facilitated LMIA - Quebec, intra-company transfers, and humanitarian and compassionate LMIA-exemptions.

Once your LMIA is approved or accepted as positive, it is valid for the six6-month period. An LMIA can be approved in as little as 10 days, which can significantly fast-track the process to apply for your work permit and immigrate to Canada and gain permanent residency. Once you are accepted, you must get a copy of your LMIA and job offer from the relevant employer, which will be required for your work permit application.

Discover More for Your Future

Man smiling at a laptop

Now that you know more about LMIA and the requirements for getting a positive LMIA, you can start your journey to move to and work in Canada.

If working in Canada is your dream and you are looking for an opportunity to expand your career opportunities and live in Canada as a permanent resident, rest assured that you can make your dream a reality today.

For more information on how to get a working visa in Canada and fast-track your application, you can get in touch with a government-approved Regulated Immigration Canadian Consultants (RCICs).