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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

All About Significant Benefit Work Permits

All About Significant Benefit Work Permits

What is a Significant Benefit Work Permit?

Do you have an interesting business idea, or are an entrepreneur who thinks they have a business idea which could be beneficial to Canadians, then the Canadian government has the program for you! Assuming you as well have an interest in doing business in Canada, the Canadian government is willing to permit you to work in Canada for quite an extended period of time, provided they determine you qualify for this unique type of work permit. I am talking about a significant benefit work permit (SBWP). As it sounds, the significant benefit work permit is available to foreign nationals who are presumed to be a significant benefit to Canadian society. As such, there is a fairly tough evaluation process behind granting individuals a SBWP. Not to worry though, Akrami and Associates is here to help you understand if you could apply for a SBWP, and how to go about doing this.

Who Can Apply for A Significant Benefit Work Permit?

Well, as I briefly mentioned, you must be in a position to bring business to Canada which is of significant benefit either socially, economically, or culturally. As such, you must be able to plan and outline what you intend to contribute to Canada, how this is going to benefit Canada, and how you are going to be successful in creating and maintaining your endeavors. This may not sound like much, but it is much more complicated that drawing up a pipedream plan and hoping a Canadian immigration officer appreciates the sound of the idea. You must make an immigration officer feel confident that you have a good, beneficial idea, and the means to achieve this idea in all likelihood. The importance of your business plan should not be underestimated. It is by far the most influential aspect of this type of application. Furthermore, you must be admissible to Canada. This means you cannot be criminally inadmissible, medically inadmissible, inadmissible due to prior misrepresentation, or any other reason.

How Do I Apply For a Significant Benefit Work Permit?

There are five categories which your SBWP could fall under.

  1. Canadian Interest
  2. Entrepreneurs and Self Employed
  3. Intra-Company Transferee (L-1 Visa)
  4. Emergency Repairs
  5. Or Reciprocal Employment

In addition to being able to prove you fall properly into one of these five categories, it is also important to provide identification documents, proof of your qualifications and your past experience. Finally, if applicable, you must demonstrate a valid job offer, and convince an immigration officer that you will successfully benefit Canada. In doing these things, you must prove your significant benefit in order to prove you are exempt from completing a labor market impact assessment (LMIA). If you were not considered to be a significant benefit to Canada in some way, then you would not be exempt from an LMIA. The entire purpose of an LMIA is to ensure foreign nationals are not taking positions away from Canadians who would benefit from them. Therefore, if you are not benefiting Canada significantly, you are absolutely subject to this requirement.

Canadian Interests

To apply for a SBWP claiming “Canadian Interests,” an individual is claiming they have a strong social or cultural benefit to offer to Canadians. The focus of this category is less on economic interests, and more on social and cultural ones. Therefore, an artist or musician looking to showcase cultural work in Canada may be given a SBWP because the border officers determined this to be a valid claim of benefit to “Canadian Interests.”

Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Candidates

This category of SBWP is geared towards individuals who would like to start a business or be self-employed while in Canada. Ultimately, these individuals will be eligible to apply for permanent residency one day, which is not the same for other SBWP holders, but this is because the self-employed immigration program required individuals to have a work permit for at least 2 years and be successful with their business before they can apply for permanent residency. As such, it is best to understand this category as having some overlap with an independent “self-employed immigration program.” Therefore, individuals in this stream will have to pitch their business idea as being socially, culturally, and/ or economically beneficial to Canadians. Then, they may be granted a SBWP and begin the process of self-employed immigration to Canada.

Intra-Company Transferee

Similar to the situation with the entrepreneurs and self-employed candidates, this category of individual who may apply for a SBWP also overlaps with an entirely independent program. The intra-company transferee is sort of a work permit of its own category, because there are two different ways you could be eligible for an intra-company transfer. First, you could be eligible because you live in Mexico or the USA in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position, and your company has an affiliate company in Canada which you would like to be transferred to. Or, you could be coming from any country, but your transfer is justified because you are in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position and your company can demonstrate that you are a necessary addition to the team in Canada, and this company’s success would ultimately benefit the Canadian society. Please note, you must meet minimum education and experience requirements to be eligible to transfer as a significant benefit to a company.

Emergency Repairs

This is a very specific category; it focuses solely on individuals who are foreign workers that make repairs on industrial equipment or machinery. These individuals, when needed, are considered a significant benefit to Canada because they prevent Canadian projects and workers from being put on hold until we have the resources to fix machinery ourselves. To apply for this type of work permit, you would need to provide a detailed plan of the repairs you are going to do, and have a job offer to support the claim you are coming to assist others with their repairs.

Reciprocal Employment

Finally, in certain circumstances, there are “reciprocal opportunities” for foreign nationals to obtain a work permit while a Canadian also goes somewhere international. Some examples are academic exchanges, work related research, international youth exchange programs, and post-graduate employment opportunities.

What Does a Significant Benefit Work Permit Do?

Like all work permits, a SBWP permits you to work in Canada. This is essentially a closed work permit, as you are bound to coming to Canada and doing what you claimed you were going to do on our application. Also, it is important to understand that this work permit can be renewed and extended fairly easily, so long as you can continue to demonstrate the benefits you offer, and you are permitted to renew the permit indefinitely, so you could technically work in Canada forever. Though, this type of work permit never leads to permanent resident status, no matter how long you have one. With the slight exception of self-employed individuals who are eligible for the self-employed immigration program.

Contact Akrami & Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned important information in consideration prior to applying for a Significant Benefit Work Permit. Any work permit or temporary resident visa in Canada is a difficult task to apply on your own; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients contribute and benefit Canadian culture, society and economy through receiving a Significant Benefit Work Permit. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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