LMIA Exemptions and Work Permit Exemptions

Most employers need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire a temporary foreign worker. Before the hiring process begins, you must first determine if you need an LMIA.

A full list of LMIA and work permit exemptions can be found below.

An LMIA is a legal document assessing the potential impact of a Canadian employer hiring foreign workers. The reason that an LMIA exists is to make sure that jobs in Canada are made available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents first. Employers, in most circumstances, can only hire an international worker/ employee if they have a positive LMIA confirming that:

  • there is a need for a temporary foreign worker.
  • no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job.

However, there are several situations where an LMIA is exempt. If a Canadian employer is exempted from obtaining an LMIA, they can hire a temporary foreign worker without first applying for an LMIA.

International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program is designed to allow Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers without the need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

In most cases, for your business to hire a temporary worker through the International Mobility Program, you must:

  • pay the employer compliance fee of $230; and
  • create and submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal. Your offer of employment must include information about:
    • your business
    • the foreign worker you would like to hire
    • the job details
    • wage and benefits

Note: Foreign workers will usually still need to submit an application for a work permit, even if their employers are exempt from getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment for them to work in Canada.

International Agreements

You may be exempt from needing an LMIA if your situation is covered by one or more international agreements between Canada and your country. Examples of international agreements which provide LMIA exemptions include the following:

  • 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)
Federal-Provincial Agreements

Under Canada’s constitution, responsibility for immigration is shared between the federal and provincial/territorial governments.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments meet regularly in order to develop policy and consult each other on immigration issues. In addition, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has agreements with provinces and territories on how they share responsibility for immigration.

Each agreement is negotiated separately with each province or territory in order to address their unique needs and priorities. If an employer is located in a province which has an agreement in place with the federal government, it might be exempted from an LMIA to hire a foreign worker.

For example, individuals who are applying for a work permit under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program are exempted from also needing to get an LMIA due to the existence of an agreement between the Atlantic provinces (Prince Edward Island; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Newfoundland and Labrador) and the federal government. 

Canadian Interests

Certain classes of worker are exempt from LMIA requirements if it has been pre-determined that it is the interests of Canada or a particular territory/province to grant such an LMIA exemption. For example:

Significant benefit – if your employer can prove you will bring an important social, cultural, and/or economic benefit to Canada. This can include:

  • general: self-employed engineers, technical workers, creative and performing artists, etc.
  • workers transferred within a company (intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge) – only those that will benefit Canada with their skills and experience
  • workers under Mobilité francophone

Reciprocal employment – lets foreign workers get jobs in Canada when Canadians have similar opportunities in other countries

  • General (such as professional coaches and athletes working for Canadian teams)
  • International Experience Canada – a work abroad program for youth and young professionals
  • People in exchange programs like professors and visiting lecturers

Public policy & ‘designated by the Minister’

  • Academics, including researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors (sponsored through a recognized federal program)
  • Competitiveness and public policy
    • medical residents and fellows
    • post-doctoral fellows and people who have won academic awards from Canadian schools

Charity and religious work (not including volunteers)

LMIA exemption codes – Full List

IMPORTANT: This list is provided as a guide only. Exemption categories and exemption codes are subject to change at any time by Canadian authorities.

The last major LMIA code updates taken into account below were made on December 15 2022, and were last reviewed by VisaEnvoy in 2024. For the most up-to-date advice on the best category or code to use for your application, please contact a member of our team.

Category: Public Policy – A25.2 exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Special measures for Hong Kong residents coming to Canada R01 (in Canada)

R02 (outside Canada)

Open work permits for applicants for the temporary to permanent resident pathway R01 (in Canada)

R02 (outside Canada)

Category: International Agreements/International Arrangements – R204(a) exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Non-trade agreements covering airline personnel (ground, technical and operational) and US government personnel T11
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) Traders T34
CUSMA Investors T35
CUSMA Professionals T36
CUSMA Intra-company transferee executives/senior managers T37
CUSMA Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge T38
Colombia Traders F10
Colombia Investors F11
Colombia Professionals/Technicians F12
Colombia Intra-company transferee executives/senior managers F13
Colombia Management trainees F14
Colombia Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge F15
Colombia Spouses T25
Chile Traders F20
Chile Investors F21
Chile Professionals F22
Chile Intra-company transferee executives/senior managers F23
Chile Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge F24
South Korea Traders F30
South Korea Investors F31
South Korea Contract service suppliers/independent professionals F32
South Korea Intra-company transferee executives/senior managers F33
South Korea Intra-company transferee management trainees F34
South Korea Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge F35
South Korea Spouses F36
Panama Professionals or technicians F42
Peru Traders F50
Peru Investors F51
Peru Professionals or technicians F52
Peru Intra-company transferee executives/senior managers F53
Peru Intra-company transferee management trainees F54
South Korea Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge F55
GATS Professionals T33
EU Traders T46
EU Contractual service suppliers T47
EU Engineering technologists/scientific technologists T48
EU Independent professionals T43
EU Intra-company transferee executive/senior manager T44
EU Intra-company transferee Graduate trainee T42
EU Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge T41
EU Spouses of intra-company transferees (T44, T42, T41) T45
CPTPP Investors T50
CPTPP Intra-company transferee executive/senior manager T51
CPTPP Intra-company transferee management trainee T54
CPTPP Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge T55
CPTPP Intra-company transferee professional/technician T52
CPTPP Spouses T53
UK Independent professionals F60
UK Intra-company transferee executive/senior manager F61
UK Intra-company transferee management trainee F62
UK Intra-company transferee with specialized knowledge F63
UK Spouses of intra-company transferees (F61, F62, F63) F64
UK Investors F65
UK Contractual service suppliers F66
UK Engineering/scientific technologists F67

Category: Canada-provincial/territorial exemption codes – R204(c)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Canada-provincial/territorial, e.g.

  • Nominated for permanent residence by a province
  • Significant investment projects
  • Exceptional or unforeseen events (e.g. natural disaster)
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program C18
Quebec investors holding ‘notice of intent to select’ T10

 Note: There are currently no exemption codes for approved provincial/territorial-international agreements (R204(b) exemption codes).

Category: Canadian interests – significant benefit exemption codes – R205(a)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Unique work situations – General:

  • Airline personnel (foreign airline security guards)
  • Interns with international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
  • Rail grinder operators, rail welders or other specialized track maintenance workers
  • Experts on mission, working for a United Nations office in Canada
  • Foreign physicians coming to work in Quebec
  • Caribbean agricultural liaison officers
Unique work situations – Entrepreneurs/self-employed business owners:

  • Fishing guides (Canadian lakes)
  • Foreign camp owner or director, and outfitters
  • Foreign freelance race jockeys
Provincial business candidates/Quebec self-employed with a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC) C60
Intra-company transferees to an existing business in Canada – executives, senior or functional managers


Airline personnel (station managers)

Intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge C63
Intra-company transferees starting a branch or affiliate in Canada C61
Emergency repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipment C13
Essential workers for the production of TV or film C14
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot C15
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot – Spouses C17
Francophone mobility C16
Live-in caregivers with a submitted permanent residence application A71
Caregivers who have submitted a permanent residence application under the Home Child Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot C90
Spouses and adult dependants of caregivers who have submitted a perment residence application under the Home Child Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot C91
Certain Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders who are currently located in Quebec A73
Public policy for spouse or common-law partner in Canada or family class applicants A74
Bridging open work permits (BOWP) A75
Permanent resident facilitation work permit categories:

  • Caregivers (Home Child Care Provider Pilot/Home Support Worker Pilot)
  • Yukon Community Pilot (YCP)
Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC) holders who are currently located outside Quebec A76
Start-up business class (SUV) permanent resident visa applicants A77

Category: Canadian interests – reciprocal employment exemption codes – R205(b)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Fishing guides (border lakes)


United States government personnel (family members)

Residential summer camp counsellors C24
Coaches and athletes C26
International Experience Canada Program C21
Academic exchanges (professors, visiting lecturers) C22
Performing arts C23

Category: Canadian interests – research exemption codes – R205(c)(i)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Research C31
Educational co-op – post-secondary level C32
Educational co-op – secondary level C33

Category: Canadian interests – competitiveness and public policy exemption codes – R205(c)(ii)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Spouses/common-law partners of high-skilled workers (TEER levels 0-3) C41
Spouses/common-law partners of full-time students C42
Post-grad employment (PGWP) C43
Post-doctoral Ph.D. fellows C44
Medical/dental residents and medical research fellows C45
Dependent children of a high-skilled worker (TEER levels 0-3) C46
Spouses/common-law partners of low-skilled workers (TEER levels 4 and 5) C47
Dependent children of a low-skilled worker (TEER levels 4 and 5) C48
Family members of economic class permanent residence applicants C49
Academic award recipients C52
Innovation stream pilot C88

Category: Canadian interests – charitable or religious work exemption codes – R205(d)

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Religious work C50
Charitable work C51
Educational co-op – secondary level C33

Category: No other means of support – R206 exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Refugee claimants S61
Persons under an unenforceable removal order S62

Category: Permanent residence applicants in Canada – R207 exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Live-in caregiver class (LCP)

Spouse/common-law partner in Canada class (eligibility passed)

Protected persons under subsection A95(2)

Section A25 exemption on humanitarian and compassionate grounds

Family members of any of the above


Category: Vulnerable workers – R207.1 exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Vulnerable workers A72
Family members of vulnerable workers A72

Category: Humanitarian reasons – R208 exemption codes

Type of LMIA Exemption LMIA exemption code
Destitute students H81
Holders of a temporary resident permit which is valid for at least six months H82

Work permit exemptions

Individuals in the following categories are typically exempt from requiring a work permit in Canada.

  • R186(a)—Business visitors
  • R186(b)—Foreign representatives and R186(c)—Family members of foreign representatives
  • R186(d)—Military personnel
  • R186(e)—Foreign government officers
  • R186(f)—On-campus employment
  • R186(g)—Performing artists
  • R186(h)—Athletes and team members
  • R186(i)—News reporters, media crews
  • R186(j)—Public speakers
  • R186(k)—Convention organizers
  • R186(l)—Religious leaders
  • R186(m)—Judges, referees and similar officials
  • R186(n)—Examiners and evaluators
  • R186(o)—Expert witnesses or investigators
  • R186(p)—Health care students
  • R186(q)—Civil aviation inspector
  • R186(r)—Aviation accident or incident inspector
  • R186(s)—Crew (international transportation)
  • R186(t)—Emergency service providers
  • R186(u)—Implied status
  • R186(v)—Off-campus work
  • R186(w)—Off-campus work (transition to post-graduation status)
  • R186(x)—Registered Indians
  • Assessing farm work
  • Public Policy: Short-term work permit exemption
  • Public Policy: 120-day work permit exemption for researchers

In addition to the above profession and policy-based exemptions, registered Indians (as defined under the Indian Act), are also exempt from having to apply for a work permit.

Kunal Thakur

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant R#519955

Kunal Thakur is a passionate Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with close to two decades of immigration experience, during which he has successfully guided thousands of people on their immigration journey. He is quick in responding to client queries and constantly strives to give his clients the best possible advice. Kunal brings immense value to our team with his talks and discourses on immigration. When not in front of his laptop reading and analysing client cases, he enjoys spending his spare time exploring new places and trying new things. Kunal is currently based in Adelaide, Australia. You can book a time with him here.

[email protected]