Work Permits Without an LMIA
International Mobility Program (IMP)
The IMP allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. These LMIA exemptions are based on the following conditions:
broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada; and
reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.
In order to hire a foreign worker through the IMP, a Canadian employer must follow three steps:
Confirm the position or worker in question qualifies for an LMIA-exemption;
Pay the employer compliance fee of $230 CAD;
Submit the official job offer through the IMP’s Employer Portal.
Afterward, a foreign national may be eligible to apply for their own work permit. LMIA-exempt workers may qualify for expedited work permit processing through the Global Skills Strategy if their position is NOC Skill Level A or 0 and they are applying from outside of Canada.
Due to international agreements between Canada and other countries, some employees can transfer between Canada and other countries if they can show that this will have a positive impact. The following Canadian agreements have LMIA-exemptions:
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Canada-Chile FTA / Canada-Peru FTA / Canada-Colombia FTA / Canada-Korea FTA
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
Canadian Interest Exemptions
LMIA-exemptions under this category must show that the exemption will be in the best interest of Canada, either because it's beneficial to Canadians or it maintains the reciprocal employment relationships with other nations.
To qualify under this category, the employment of a foreign national must show significant social or cultural benefit to Canada. Usually, immigration officers will check past track records of success and the testimony and recommendations of distinguished experts in the foreign nationals field in order to determine significant benefits.
Through this provision, companies can transfer a foreign employee to their Canadian location to improve the quality of their business for the benefit of Canadians.
In some cases, LMIA-exemptions are granted for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. Also, some PR candidates may be eligible to apply for LMIA-exempt work permits as well.