LMIA Exemptions Blog Post
Given that LMIAs can be costly and time-consuming to obtain, for both the worker and their potential employer (see prior post), finding a proper exemption is quite important. IRCC gives exemptions from the LMIA process for some kinds of work permit applications, based on practicality, fairness, and national/international interest.
LMIA exemptions are organized into codes, which are put in the work permit application, to denote the kind of exemption for which the worker qualifies. Officers will, of course, review the circumstances and determine if the exemption is valid or not.
Some of these codes are self-evident; an open work permit allows a worker to choose any employer in Canada (with a few minor exceptions). It would make no sense to do a Labour Market Impact Assessment in this situation). The work itself sometimes also precludes the need for an LMIA; pilots of aircraft, foreign security guards, US border agents (such as at the Canada-US border posts) are also self-evidently not part of the Canadian labour market. Athletes and coaches visiting Canada for a game, short-term business visitors, investors, and others also have their own codes. International students doing work co-op, medical fellows, religious/charity workers, and many others fall under such limits.
Other codes are dependent on the prospective worker themselves; do they have a specialized skillset or education that cannot easily be found in Canada? If so, the specialized knowledge code can be used, but the applicant and the employer must be prepared to show evidence that they are in fact qualified and have the education/experience they claim.
Another major exception to LMIAs is the Intra-Company Transferee (ICT), which is for foreign workers being moved to the Canadian subsidiary or branch of a foreign company. The application must still show that the employee is necessary, and the employer will need to provide the appropriate background information.
If the employee is an executive/manager, it should be easy to demonstrate such, but specialized knowledge can be more difficult. Showing that they are critical to the Canadian portion of the business may be more difficult, since it must be shown that the knowledge is unique or uncommon in Canada with the existing employees and any potential Canadian employees.
For any work permit, regardless of LMIA or not, having an experienced lawyer is important, to ensuring that a work permit or an extension is successful despite any complexities that may arise.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.