LMIA Exemptions

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:
    • your business
    • the foreign worker you would like to hire
    • the job details
    • wage and benefits

International Agreements

You may be exempt from needing an LMIA if your situation is covered by the international agreements between Canada and your country. There are several international agreements as below:

  • 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 Agreement

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.


Canadian Interests

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)

Other Situations

There are some other situations where an LMIA are exempt, as below

  • Refugee
  • Permanent residence applicants in Canada
  • Vulnerable workers
  • Humanitarian reasons
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
Regulation LMIA exemption code

Unique work situations:

  • Airline personnel (operational, technical and ground personnel)
  • United States government personnel
Trader (FTA) T21
Investor (FTA) T22
Professional/technician (FTA) T23
Intra-company transferee (FTA) T24
Spouse (Colombia or Korea FTA) T25
GATS professional T33
Investor (CETA) T46
Contractual service supplier (CETA) T47
Independent professional (CETA) T43
Intra-corporate (company) transferee (CETA) T44
Spouse (CETA) T45
Investor (CPTPP) T50
Intra-company transferee (CPTPP) T51
Professional or technician (CPTPP) T52
Spouse (CPTPP) T53

R204(b) Provincial/territorial-international exemption codes

There are no approved agreements at this time

R204(c) Canada-provincial/territorial exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Canada-provincial/territorial T13
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program C18


R205: Canadian interests

R205(a) Significant benefit exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Significant benefit

Unique work situations:

  • 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

Unique work situations:

  • Fishing guides (Canadian lakes)
  • Foreign camp owner or director, and outfitters
  • Foreign freelance race jockeys
Intra-company transferees (including GATS)

Unique work situations

  • Airline personnel (station managers)
Emergency repair or repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipment C13
Television and film production workers C14
Francophone mobility C16
Live-in caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted A71
Caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted under the Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCPP) or Home Support Worker Pilot (HSWP) (occupation-restricted open work permit) C90
Spouses and dependants at age of majority of caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted under the HCCPP or HSWP C91
Bridging open work permits (BOWPs)

  • Caregivers under the HCCPP or HSWP
Unique work situations

  • Certain Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders currently in Quebec
R205(b) Reciprocal employment exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Reciprocal employment

Unique work situations:

  • Fishing guides (border lakes)
  • Residential camp counsellors
  • United States government personnel (family members)
Youth exchange programs C21
Academic exchanges (professors, visiting lecturers C22
Performing arts C23

R205(c) Designated by Minister

R205(c)(i) Research exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Research C31
i.1) Educational co-op – post-secondary C32
i.2) Educational co-op – secondary level C33
R205(c)(ii) Competitiveness and public policy exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Spouses of skilled workers C41
Spouses of students C42
Post-grad employment C43
Post-doctoral Ph.D. fellows and award recipients C44
Off-campus employment See the instructions concerning students
Medical residents and fellows C45
R205(d) Charitable or religious work exemption code
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Religious work C50
Charitable work C50

R206: No other means of support

R206 exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
a. Refugee claimants S61
b. Persons under an unenforceable removal order S62


R207: Permanent residence applicants in Canada

R207 exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
Permanent residence applicants in Canada:

  1. Live-in-caregiver class
  2. Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
  3. Protected persons under subsection A95(2)
  4. Section A25 exemption (humanitarian and compassionate grounds)
  5. Family members of the above

R207.1: Vulnerable workers

R207.1 exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
1. Vulnerable workers A72
2. Family member of vulnerable worker A72


R208: Humanitarian reasons

R208 exemption codes
Regulation LMIA exemption code
a. Destitute students H81
b. Holders of a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of six months H82

Work permit exemption

Authorization to work without a work permit

  • R186(a)—Business visitor
  • 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
  • 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

Registered Indians

Registered Indians, as defined under the Indian Act, are exempt from having to apply for a work permit.