LMIA Exemption Streams

LMIA Exemption Streams


In certain cases, foreign workers in Canada are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) waives the LMIA process for a Canadian work permit application under the following common conditions

Coverage under International Agreements

This category facilitates Canadian work permits for investors, traders, business visitors, and professionals covered under agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The transfer of labor under these international agreements is considered a benefit to Canada, exempting the need for an LMIA.

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Participation in an International Exchange Program

Those entering Canada through youth exchanges like SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program), IEC (International Experience Canada), the Working Holiday Visa, teacher exchanges, and joint exchange programs are exempt.


Entrepreneurial Endeavours

Private entrepreneurs aiming to start or operate a business in Canada may qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit. Eligible entrepreneurs must have sole or majority ownership, significantly benefit Canada, and demonstrate that the work will be temporary.


Intra-company Transfers

LMIA is unnecessary when a foreign subsidiary or branch of a Canadian company temporarily transfers an employee to Canada in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position.


Spousal/Dependant Relationships

Exemption may apply if the spouse or common-law partner is a full-time international student or a skilled foreign worker. Sponsored spouses, common-law partners of Canadian citizens, and dependants, including children of foreign workers with valid permits, may also be exempt.


Pilot Project Work Permits

Agreements between provincial/territorial governments and CIC encourage temporary foreign workers in certain fields, applying to spouses, common-law partners, and dependants of eligible workers.


Provincial Nomination

No LMIA is necessary for workers nominated by a province or selected for permanent residence in Québec, provided they have a job offer in the nominating province.


Academic Work

Certain academics, including researchers, visiting professors, and guest lecturers, may be exempt from an LMIA.


Co-op Work Placements

International students with co-op work placements or internships as part of their program may not require an LMIA.


Religious Work

Charitable or religious work for a recognized organization or institution may be exempt from an LMIA.



LMIA exemptions may be available for refugee claimants and individuals needing to support themselves while in Canada.

Consult a Canadian immigration lawyer to determine whether your situation qualifies.



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