Top 6 work permits for employers, No LMIA REQUIRED

If you fall under one of these exemptions, you may be permitted to recruit a temporary foreign worker without conducting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), or even bring somebody to work in Canada without a work visa.

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Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugees The International Mobility Program (IMP) is a work permit program in Canada that serves to promote the country’s social, economic, and cultural interests. These work permits are excluded from LMIA because the government has concluded that the foreign worker’s job will provide a “substantial advantage” to Canada, or the exemption occurs within a reciprocal agreement between Canada and the foreign worker’s country.

You will not need to go through the LMIA process if your employment circumstance fits under one of IRCC’s LMIA exemption codes or a work permit exemption. Before hiring foreign employees under the IMP, you must pay an employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment via the IRCC’s Employer Portal.

Employers in Quebec do not require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) to hire through the IMP.

Here are various LMIA-exempt work permit and work permit-exempt programs in Canada.

1. Intra Company Transfer (ICT)

Through an Intra Company Transfer, multinational corporations may be able to deploy critical personnel to operate at their Canadian facility (ICT).

This option is offered to firms with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate presence in Canada. It is not sufficient to just have a physical location.

Furthermore, in Canada, the position may be restricted to executives and senior managers, functional managers, or employees who can demonstrate a specialized understanding of the company’s goods, services, processes, and procedures.



Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, citizens of the United States and Mexico can get Canadian work permits (CUSMA).

CUSMA, formerly known as NAFTA, permits Canada, the United States, and Mexico to trade talent without the requirement for LMIAs.

Under CUSMA, four types of temporary workers are covered:

  • CUSMA Professionals — Workers who have pre-arranged employment and are qualified to work in one of around 60 selected professions.
  • Intra-Company Transfers — managers, executives, or employees with specific knowledge who transfer to Canada to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their U.S. or Mexican firm.
  • CUSMA Traders — Individuals traveling to Canada to do major commerce in products or services between Canada and the United States or Mexico.
  • CUSMA Investors — Investors that have made a significant investment in a new or existing Canadian business and are coming to Canada to develop and direct it.



The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Deal is Canada’s free trade agreement with the European Union and its member countries (CETA).

CETA may assist four different types of people:

  • Short-term business visitors and business visitors traveling to Canada for investment objectives are both included in this category.
  • Intra-company transferees — Senior management and experts may transfer to a Canadian branch without obtaining an LMIA.
  • Investors — Europeans who have made a significant investment in a new or existing Canadian firm and are traveling to Canada to develop and direct it.
  • Contractual service providers and independent professionals – This CETA category applies to specific service providers and independent professionals.


4. Television and film

The TV and Film Production Work Permit Category allows TV and film productions to bring in key professionals to Canada.

Foreign and Canadian production firms can use this work permit category to attract talent to Canadian locales if they can establish that the job performed by the foreign national is critical to the production.


5. Business Visitors

Business travelers can enter Canada without a work permit to undertake business or trade activities. This exemption may apply to individuals traveling to Canada to attend a conference, purchase Canadian products or services for a foreign corporation, train personnel, or be taught for work that will be performed outside of Canada, among other things. They may also offer after-sales or leasing services.

Some broad requirements for qualifying as a business visitor are as follows:

  • the foreign national intends to stay in Canada for less than six months; the foreign national does not intend to enter the Canadian labor market;
  • the foreign national’s main place of income or source of income and profits is outside of Canada; and
  • the foreign national meets Canada’s basic entry requirements, which include a valid passport, enough money to finance the entire stay and return home, and is not criminally or medically inadmissible.

To cross the border, business visitors may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).


6. After-sales or lease services

A person may not require a Canadian work permit if they are traveling to Canada to undertake repairs and service, oversee installers, or set up and test commercial or industrial equipment (including computer software). Individuals that perform this sort of labor may be classified as business visitors.

Hands-on installation, typically conducted by construction or building trades such as electricians or pipefitters, is not included in setting up.

After-sales or lease services also apply to individuals who come to repair or maintain specialized equipment purchased or leased outside of Canada, providing the service is conducted as part of the original or extended sales agreement, lease or rental agreement, warranty, or service contract.

It includes cases when the sales or leasing agreement or purchase order is for a software upgrade to run previously sold or leased equipment. A service worker visiting Canada to install, set up, or train on improved software may also be deemed a business visitor.

This regulation does not apply to hands-on building and construction activities.

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