Most employers need an LMIA before they can hire a temporary foreign worker. Before you start the hiring process, you must determine if you need an LMIA.
LMIA is a legal document assessing the potential impact if employers are hiring foreign workers. This exists to make sure that jobs in Canada must be available to Canada 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 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 for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
In most cases, 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:
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
Under Canada’s Constitution, responsibility for immigration is shared between the federal and provincial/territorial governments.
The federal, provincial and territorial governments meet to plan 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 the province or territory to address unique needs and priorities. If the employer in located in the province which has an agreement in place with the federal government, it might be exempted from an LMIA to hire a foreign worker.
One example for this situation is if you are applying for a work permit under Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, you are exempted from getting an LMIA due to the existence of an agreement between Atlantic and the Federal government.
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
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)
There are some other situations where an LMIA are exempt, as below
Permanent residence applicants in Canada
How to know if you are exempted from an LMIA
To see if you and the temporary foreign worker you want to hire are exempt from needing an LMIA or work permit, do one of the following:
review the LMIA exemption codes and work permit exemptions (mentioned below)
select the LMIA exemption or work permit code that seems most relevant to your hiring situation and read the detailed description.
if an exemption code applies to you, you’ll need to include it in your offer of employment.
contact the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU)
available only if you’re hiring a temporary foreign worker who is both
currently outside Canada
from a country whose nationals are visa-exempt
LMIA exemption codes
R204: International agreements
R204(a) Canada-international exemption codes
LMIA exemption code
Unique work situations:
Airline personnel (operational, technical and ground personnel)