LMIA Exempt Work Permits

Labour Market Impact Assessment LMIA Exempt Canadian Work Permits

10 Nov, 2017 LMIA Exempt Work Permits

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that is required to apply for most Canadian work permits. However, there are some types of Canadian work permits that are LMIA exempt!

Before an employer in Canada can hire a foreign worker, they have to get an LMIA. A positive LMIA, sometimes called a confirmation letter, proves that the employer tried and failed to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position, so they need to hire a foreign national instead.

When a foreign national applies for most Canadian work permits, they need to have a copy of the positive LMIA and the LMIA number included in the application. However, there are some exceptions!

There are basically three kinds of Canadian work permits:

  1. Closed Work Permits
  2. Open Work Permits
  3. Closed LMIA-exempt Work Permits

Most Canadian work permits are closed work permits, which require a positive LMIA. A closed work permit is issued to a foreign worker to work in the specific position and for the specific employer that are listed on the LMIA.

An open work permit, on the other hand, lets foreign workers work in any position, for any employer, anywhere in Canada. Since open work permits are not restricted to an occupation or employer, they do not require an LMIA. You also do not need to have a job offer to apply for an open work permit.

Closed LMIA-exempt work permits are kind of in the middle. They allow foreign workers to work for a specific employer in a specific position, but do not require an LMIA.



Closed LMIA-exempt work permits authorize a foreign national to work in a specific position for a specific employer, but don’t need a positive LMIA. Usually, whether or not a closed work permit is LMIA-exempt depends on the nature of the job.

IRCC has an extensive list of LMIA exemptions, but we’ll focus on some of the more common ones below.


The significant benefit exemption can be applied if you will bring an important social or cultural benefit to Canada.


Foreign nationals who want to work for themselves or operate their own business temporarily in Canada need to demonstrate that their business would generate significant economic, social, or cultural benefits for Canadian citizens or permanent residents to be granted a LMIA exemption.


International companies can temporarily transfer employees to a Canadian branch without requiring an LMIA.


French-speaking skilled workers who have a valid job offer in a province or territory outside of Quebec may be exempted from needing an LMIA.


Canada has signed some reciprocal agreements with various countries that allow citizens to work without needing an LMIA in some circumstances.


Some international Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) contain provisions to make it easier for business people to work temporarily in the signed countries. While foreign workers covered by an applicable FTA still usually need a closed work permit, they are exempt from the LMIA requirement. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the new Canadian-European Trade Agreement (CETA) are both examples.


Canada also participates in some international youth exchange programs that allow young people to travel and work in Canada without requiring an LMIA. For example, the Young Professionals category of International Experience Canada for individuals with a job offer in Canada that contributes to their professional development.

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The Canadim Team!

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