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

Exemptions to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Exemptions to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Several Circumstances Where LMIA Can Be Waived

In order to successfully bring and hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada, in most cases, Canadian employers must acquire a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) prior to hiring them. However, there are several different circumstances and cases where a LMIA is not required and may be waived. There are common LMIA exemptions that fall under specific categories, such as significant benefit, reciprocal employment, and charitable and religious workers. It is important to remember that even though an individual may be exempt from getting an LMIA, it does not mean that the individual is exempt from getting a valid work permit. All of the LMIA exemptions are still required to obtain a valid work permit to work in Canada. Furthermore, in this article, I will address the specific LMIA exemptions and what that means for those individuals.

Significant Benefit

A significant social or cultural benefit refers to the degree of flexibility an Immigration officer has in assessing whether a valid work permit may be issued without the need for a positive LMIA. In order to accurately and properly assess this, the foreign worker’s proposed benefit and skill to Canada through their work must be significant and notable. Immigration officers often refer to the testimony of the credible and distinguished experts in the foreign worker’s field of work, in addition to any objective evidence provided. In order to determine the foreign worker’s level of achievement in their past experiences, Immigration often looks at their past records as a good indicator of this.

An LMIA exemption can be given to private entrepreneurs who desire to travel to Canada on a temporary basis in order to commence or operate their business. Anyone who applies through this category must be the sole or majority owner of the business that they wish to pursue in Canada. In addition, they must also prove that their business will be a benefit to the Canadian economy. Business entrepreneurs may only be LMIA exempt if they can demonstrate that their work will be temporary in Canada.

Another category of individuals that qualify for an LMIA exemption are Intra-Company Transferees. This can only be granted if their transfer is temporary to Canada. The transferees must also be considered managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers. An important aspect of the Intra-Company Transferee is they must work for a foreign company that has a qualifying relationship to a Canadian company.

An LMIA exemption can be issued to dependents of foreign workers. In other words, any spouses or children of Foreign Workers that currently hold a Canadian work permit for a skilled position in Canada do not require a LMIA. There is one exception to this rule and that applies to spouses of workers on an International Exchange Program as this is a different matter.

Additionally, French-Speaking Skilled Workers do not need an LMIA and are LMIA-exempt. This is the case for any foreign national that has been recruited through a francophone immigration promotional event that was organized between the federal government and a Francophone minority community. The francophone foreign national must also be destined for a province or territory that is outside of Quebec and must be also qualified under a N OC group 0, A or B. Lastly, they must also be qualified and eligible to work in Canada through Mobilite Francophone.

Academics, which include researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors luckily do not have to acquire a positive LMIA to come to Canada on a work permit. Similarly, any foreign national workers that were nominated by a province for permanent residency and have acquired a valid job offer in that specific province are also LMIA exempt and can proceed with getting a valid work permit without an LMIA.

Reciprocal Employment

Reciprocal employment is defined as agreements that essentially allow foreign national workers to obtain valid employment in Canada when Canadians or permanent residents have similar reciprocal work opportunities overseas.

For instance, Canada has a number of international agreements that ease the entry of foreign national workers. The entrance of these foreign national workers to Canada under these specific international agreements is considered to be a significant benefit to Canada and thus does not require an LMIA. An example of an international agreement is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In addition to the international agreements, Canada also participates in a number of programs for international youth exchange. Examples of international youth exchange programs include International Experience Canada (IEC), Student Co-op programs, Working Holiday Visa, Young Professionals programs, and teacher exchange programs. All of the aforementioned agreements and programs are exempt from obtaining an LMIA.

Charitable and Religious Work

Thankfully, in the Canadian context, charity is described as the relief of poverty and the advancement of education. There are also other purposes of charity that benefit the community. Due to these significant reasons, charitable workers do not require a LMIA to enter Canada. In order to prove that an individual is working for a charity, an Immigration officer may request more information from the charity employer in order to verify that the organization is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a charity.

Religious work is defined as being part of, or share, the beliefs of the particular religious community where they intend to work, or to teach or share other religious beliefs, as instructed by the employer. Therefore, religious workers must partake in all of these factors in order to be considered a religious worker. Furthermore, in order to be LMIA-exempt, the duties of the foreign national worker should exemplify a religious objective. An example of a religious objective is the provision of religious instruction and/or the promotion of a particular religion. Other work responsibilities would involve spiritual teachings of the religion and maintaining the doctrines and spiritual observances for which those teachings are based upon.

Contact Akrami & Associates

In order to determine whether you are LMIA exempt or not, or if you require an LMIA, we can help you with this process. Applying for an LMIA can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with how Immigration applications work. Moreover, any Immigration application can become overwhelming if done alone; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply. Additionally, it is extremely important that you take into consideration the aforementioned information prior to submitting your application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients apply for an LMIA. If you believe that you might be eligible for an LMIA, 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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