Work Permit & LMIA

Work Permit & LMIA

Canada is considered as one of the main destinations for many foreign nationals who are looking for employment opportunities. Canada has a strong and diverse economy and many opportunities for professional growth and development. Moreover, working in Canada also opens up various pathways for Permanent Residence.

You usually need a work permit to work in Canada. In most cases, the first step to obtaining a Canadian work permit is to obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer. Once you have a qualifying job offer in place you can begin the process of applying for your Canadian work permit. Some workers may be work permit exempt depending on the type of work they will be doing in Canada and the duration that they will be working in Canada. Other workers may require a work permit as well as a Labour Market Impact Assessment from the Canadian government confirming the need for a foreign worker to enter the Canadian work force. In some cases, workers are exempt from the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment due to government directives and international trade agreements.

What is an LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assessing the impact of hiring a foreign national in Canada. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill a position, therefore enabling an employer to hire a foreign national. A negative LMIA indicates that a position should be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. It is the employer’s responsibility to apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment, not the employee’s.

Labour Market Impact Assessments can be used to obtain work permits and can be used to add 50 or 200 points to the Comprehensive Ranking System Score of those in Express Entry.

Types of Canadian work permits

There are many different options for obtaining a Canadian work permit. Some work permits require a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require that the employer provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while others require that a person has some sort of connection to Canada (previous education, spousal sponsorship, etc

  •   Open Work Permit- An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada. You can only get an open work permit in specific situations.

    You may be eligible for an open work permit if you:

    •   are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
    •   are a student who’s no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student)
    •   have an employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada
    •   applied for permanent residence in Canada
    •   are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence
    •   are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student
    •   are the spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
    •   are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person or their family member
    •   are under an unenforceable removal order
    •   are a temporary resident permit holder
    •   are a young worker participating in special programs

    In each of these situations, you must meet additional criteria to be eligible.

    Open work permits are most commonly issued through the following immigration programs:

    •   Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
    •   International Experience Canada (IEC)
    •   Inland Spousal or Common-Law Sponsorship
    •   Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP)
    •   Spouse Accompanying International Student

    Open work permits do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

  •   Employer-Specific Work permit allows you to work for employer named on your work permit at the location listed on your work permit. This type of work permit does require Labour Market Impact Assessment

How to apply for a work permit

Once you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer, in most cases the next step is for the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment to allow them to hire a foreign national. You will also be required to submit a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment with your work permit Application if applicable.

Once you have the approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in place you can then proceed to submit your work permit application.

When applying for a Canadian work permit you may be able to obtain permits for your spouse and dependent children to accompany you to Canada. Also, depending on the level of the position being offered to you (NOC 0, A, B,) your spouse may be eligible for an Open Work Permit. For any children who wish to accompany you to Canada you need to remember that only children under the age of 22 can be included with your application.

Work Permit Exemptions

Those entering Canada to perform certain activities may be

 exempt from requiring a Work Permit.
  •   Business Visitors
  •   Foreign Representatives and their family members
  •   Military Personal
  •   Foreign Government Officers
  •   On-Campus Employment
  •   Performing Artists
  •   Atheletes and Team Members
  •   News Reporters and Media Crews
  •   Public Speakers
  •   Convention Organizers
  •   Clergy
  •   Judges, Referees and Similar Officials
  •   Examiners and Evaluaters
  •   Expert Witness or Investigators
  •   Health Care Students
  •   Civil Aviation Inspectors
  •   Aviation Accident or Incident Inspectors
  •   Flight Crew
  •   Emergency Service Providers
  •   Those on Implied Status
  •   Off-Campus Work

LMIA Exemptions

Certain individuals seeking to work in Canada may require a Canadian work permit but may be exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If the Canadian employer is exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), in some cases they will need to register your job offer through an online portal and pay a Canadian Employer Compliance Fee of $230.00.

Following is a list of those who would be 

exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  •   International agreements
  •   Spouses of NOC O,A,B foreign workers with work permit of 6+ months
  •   Workers, their spouses and dependents eligible for work permit under a pilot project
  •   Workers nominated by a province for PR with job offer
  •   Entrepreneurs and workers transferred within a company
  •   Academics(researchers, guest lecturers, visiting professors,etc), summer residential camp counselors
  •   Co-op students, religious workers, refugee claimants
  •   People in exchange programs, including IEC( International Experience Canada)
  •   Vulnerable workers in canada
  •   Destitute students who, due to circumstances beyond their control, find themselves unable to meet the cost of their studies in Canada
  •   Holders of a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for a minimum of six months


Work Permit(including extensions)- per person : CAN$155.

Open Work permit holder : CAN$100.

Restore your status as a worker : CAN$355.


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