Work in Canada



Caring for Children Pathway

Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway

Amid the recent review and overhaul of the Canadian Caregiver Program, a recent addition to the Pathways to Permanent Residence, created by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), is the creation of two new pathways for temporary immigrants in the caregiver job category. Current immigrant caregivers currently living in Canada can apply to gain permanent residence in Canada with the following Pathways to Permanent Residence:

The goal behind these pathways is to allow for quicker immigration processing times of applications waiting to become Canadian permanent residents.

Part of the changes of the Pathways to Permanent Residence included the previously mandatory Caregiver ‘live-in’ component of the program, which is no longer mandatory. Caregivers now have the option of living with their employer or living separately. This option was changed to help ensure that workers’ rights are upheld.

Pathways To Permanent Residence: Caring For Children Pathway

Qualifications for Canadian Immigration under the newly overhauled Caregiver program, applicants must:

  • Within the past four years, candidates must have accumulated a minimum of two years of full-time work experience of not less than 30 hours per work week.
  • Candidate must have had experience in Canada as a home childcare provider, with a valid work permit;
  • Candidates must achieve the definition of a home childcare provider, as per the National Occupation Classification (NOC) 4411;
  • Candidates must complete a one-year Canadian post-secondary credential or have completed a foreign credential; and
  • Candidates must pass a language ability at the minimum threshold for one of Canada’s two official languages; English or This minimum threshold is defined according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). Current minimum language threshold is (CLB) 5.


Pathways To Permanent Residence: Caring For People With High Medical Needs Pathway

Qualifications for Canadian Immigration under the newly overhauled Caregiver program, applicants must:

  • Within the past four years, candidates must have accumulated a minimum of two years of full-time work experience of not less than 30 hours per work week.
  • Candidate must have had experience in Canada as a:
➢                    registered nurse ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    registered psychiatric nurse ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    licensed practical nurse ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    nurse aide ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    orderly ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    patient service associate ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    home support worker ➢                    with a valid work permit; or
➢                    other similar occupations ➢                    with a valid work permit.


  • Candidates must demonstrate or produce a license to practice in Canada (if applicable).
  • Candidates must have a one-year Canadian post-secondary credential or completed an equivalent foreign credential.
  • Candidates must pass a language ability at the minimum threshold for one of Canada’s two official languages; English or This minimum threshold is defined according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
  • Current minimum language passing threshold is (CLB) 7 Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses.
  • Other qualified occupations must demonstrate a current minimum of (CLB) 5


Current Caregivers in Canada under the previous Caregiver Program, but not yet eligible to submit a permanent residence application may have other options for immigration into Canada under the Express Entry Program selection system.


Canada has pledged to assist some individuals who would not typically be eligible for permanent residency in Canada. Humanitarian and compassionate grounds individuals may be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases and applications are assessed on the individual case-by-case basis.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants are assessed on factors which include:

  • How settled is the person in Canada; and
  • How settled is the person in the community they are in; and
  • What general family ties does the person have in Canada; and
  • What are the best interests of any children involved; and
  • What could happen to the person if Canada does not grant the request; and
  • What other rules that apply with regards to humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration will only be considered if a candidate is applying for permanent resident status in Canada, or a candidate is applying for a permanent resident visa abroad.

Canada does not consider humanitarian and compassionate grounds requests from temporary resident applicants.

Canada does not assess risk factors such as persecution, the risk to health or life, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Applicants are allowed only one humanitarian and compassionate grounds application at a time.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants cannot apply if they already have a pending refugee claim. Refugee Claim candidates must withdraw refugee claim before their Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing to be allowed to apply and be considered as humanitarian and compassionate grounds applicants.

IRB candidates who have had an adverse decision within the last 12 months may not apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This ruling is called the “one-year bar.” (If the Immigration and Refugee Board decides a candidate’s refugee claim is abandoned or withdrawn, it considers this as a negative decision.)

The one-year bar does not apply if:

  • A candidate has children under 18 who would be negatively affected if the candidate was removed from Canada; or
  • A candidate has proof that they or one of their dependants suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that cannot or would not be treated in the candidate’s home country.


Irregular Arrivals

A non-Canadian group of people who enter Canada in a way that is against the law; or

A non-Canadian group of people try to enter Canada in a way that is against the law can be considered an “irregular arrival.”

Specific rules and restrictions apply to these ‘irregular arrival’ non-Canadian people.

If a candidate got here as part of an “irregular arrival,” the candidate is “Designated Foreign National.” The Minister of Public Safety will issue the candidate a written declaration if a candidate is a Designated Foreign National.

Designated Foreign Nationals cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds until five years have passed from:

  • the day a candidate became a designated foreign national and/or
  • the day the IRB made a final negative decision on a candidate’s refugee claim and/or
  • the day a candidate received an undesirable decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

If a candidate applied for humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but then became a designated foreign national, the candidate’s humanitarian and compassionate grounds application must be suspended for five years from the date:

  • a candidate was selected; or
  • a candidate received an unfavourable decision from the IRB; or
  • a candidate received a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

A “Removal Order” as an Order to Leave Canada.

Removal Orders

A candidate may be eligible to apply to stay in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, as long as a candidate does not have any of the above restrictions.

If a candidate applies to stay in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, this will not prevent or delay the candidate’s removal from Canada.

If a candidate has a removal order, the candidate must leave Canada on or before the date stated on the removal order.

Canada will still process the candidate’s application even if the candidate has had to leave Canada. The candidate will be informed in writing about the decision on the candidate’s case.


Canada does not provide or guarantee a right to appeal an application for permanent residence, on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which has been refused.

In some cases, a candidate can ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision. More information is provided in the application package.

Candidates must remember to keep their application up-to-date. Any and all changes in circumstances to a candidate’s application are the sole responsibility of the candidate. If decision makers do not have up to date information on a candidate’s application, the candidate may be refused entry, or if they have been given a removal order, the candidate may be required to leave and not reconsidered for a 12-month period. The 12-month rule is in place so that decision-makers have all the information that you want them to consider for your application.



Canada recognizes individuals who may be eligible to work in Canada without a work permit, who may still require a Temporary Resident Visa, but are allowed to enter Canada on a temporary term and allowed to work in certain situations.

Candidates may click each situational instance for more information:

Business Visitors Foreign Representatives and their Family Members
Crew Implied Status
Military Personnel Public Speakers
Performing Artists Convention Organizers
Foreign Government Officers Examiners and Evaluators
Health Care Students Emergency Service Providers
On-Campus Employment Civil Aviation Inspectors
Aviation or Accident Investigators In-Flight Security Officers
Athletes and Team Members News Reporters, Media Crews
Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials Expert Witnesses and Investigators
Clergy American Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers


Business Visitors

The Business Visitors category includes a vast diversity of visitors to Canada who enters Canada to engage in legal Canadian business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour market.

There are several sub-sectors under this category, but all business visitors must meet the following general criteria:

  • No business visitor can have intent to enter or engage in the Canadian labour market (gainful employment in Canada by a business visitor is not permitted);
  • The worker’s activity in Canada must be international in scope (a business visitor will engage in legal cross-border business activity);
  • Business visitors in Canada who are working for a foreign employer; must achieve the following criteria:
    • The worker’s compensation – primary source, is outside of Canada
    • The worker’s principal place of employment is outside of Canada
    • The profits accrued by the employer occur outside of Canada
  • Business visitors travelling to Canada must present immigration officials with documentation which verifies the visitor reason and status while visiting in Canada.
    • A business visitor’s documentation required to visit Canada vary on a case-by-case basis.
    • Parent company letter of support or a Canadian company a letter of invitation may be requested to bolster a business visitor’s acceptance.

The following sub-categories better define the term ‘Business Visitors’ as they apply to the IRCC:

After Sales Service

Repair and service individuals, repair and service supervisors, or set-up & test commercial or industrial equipment individuals, along with after-sales service providers may come to Canada to provide follow-up services which are outlined in a Service Contract of sale for the equipment in Canada.

Included in this category may be individuals visiting Canada to train users and/or maintenance staff in the operation of specialized equipment.

Board of Directors Meetings

Non-Canadian Members of a Board of Directors who visit Canada to attend meetings are eligible to do so as business visitors. Even if these individuals are remunerated for their time in Canada, the remuneration does not constitute entry into the Canadian labour market.

Employees of Short-Term Temporary Residents

Individuals employed in a personal capacity and on a full-time basis, by temporary residents in Canada may achieve the definition class of business visitors as portrayed by the IRCC.

Examples of professions that may be eligible under this category include:

  • domestic servants
  • personal assistants
  • live-in caregivers.

For extended stays past six months, a short-term temporary resident, and subsequently their employer(s), a Labour Market Impact Assessment and subsequent Work Permit should be secured for the employee(s).

Employees of Foreign Companies Contracting Canadian Companies

Foreign companies may contract Canadian companies to provide services in Canada. In this type of situation, the international company may send some employees to Canada to verify the work is completed out in a way that the foreign company needs the work carried out.

When employees of a foreign company are sent to Canada under a quality control or implementation assessment situation, those may be considered business visitors provided they achieve the following criteria:

  • The employee remains an employed by the foreign company; and
  • The employee remains paid by the payroll of the international company; and
  • The employee’s efforts continue to the benefit of the foreign company; and
  • The principal place of business of foreign company is not inside Canada.


Foreign Representatives and their Family Members

Foreign representatives, along with their personal staff and family members, are allowed work in Canada without a work permit if they are foreign representatives accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

The United Nations diplomatic representatives to Canada have offices in Canada and are covered by this exception.

The Protocol Department of DFAIT must issue foreign representative’s family members a ‘no objection letter,’ to work in Canada without a work permit.



Crew members, if they are working on a means of transportation that is foreign-owned and not registered in Canada and engaged primarily in international transit, do not need a work permit.

The crew members could work in the operation of; or the maintenance of, or in the passenger service capacity of the foreign-owned international transportation.

Foreign companies should be aware of and in accordance with the laws governing work conducted by crews working on the modes of transportation. As such, it is essential for the foreign company to make sure that employee’s work is eligible for a work permit exemption, in Canada, prior to coming to Canada.

Implied Status

Foreign work individuals are allowed to continue to work under the conditions of an expired work permit (without an interim work permit), only if they applied for a new work permit before the original work permit expired.

While waiting for a response from the IRCC, on their application, workers must remain in Canada to ensure implied status.

Once the IRCC has made a decision, the applicant may either continue working under the conditions of their new permit or, if the application was denied, they must leave Canada.

Military Personnel

Military and civilian personnel living and working in Canada under the umbrella of the Visiting Forces Act are permitted work and study without permits. These exemptions also cover the families of these individuals.

Military personnel are exempt from the following:

  • requirements for a passport; or
  • from a temporary resident visa; or
  • from foreign national medical examinations.

The above documents may still be required by civilians and family members.

Public Speakers

Foreign public speakers such as:

  • guest speakers at events,
  • commercial speakers
  • seminar leaders

Are all allowed to present in Canada without needing a work permit. This exemption rules that, ‘seminar’ is defined as an intensive course of study or a small class lasting no longer than five days.

In this category, foreign commercial speakers have a consigned interest in the event in which they are speaking. Typically, this means the speaker rents a commercial space; advertise for the event; charge admission; etc.

Canadian companies hiring foreign commercial speakers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit for the speaker’s time in Canada.

Performing Artists

Canada permits many foreign performing artists to work in Canada without a work permit. There are certain types of performers/performances, however, which require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and Work Permit.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has structured shared performers and performances and the immigration requirements they must meet.


In addition to the scenarios mentioned above, individual performers may work in Canada without a work permit which falls under different sub-categories. They are:

  • Film Producers (Business Visitors)
  • Film and Recording Studio Users (Business Visitors)
  • Individuals Doing Guest Spots on Canadian Radio Broadcasts and TV (Guest Speakers)


Entry Without a Work Permit Work Permit and LMIA Required
Bands are performing at restaurants, bars, pubs, etc. Actors, singers, crew, etc. in paid Canadian theatrical productions, circuses or shows,
Foreign-based musical & theatrical individuals & groups, and their essential crew are working outside bars & restaurants Individuals involved in making films, TV shows or commercials, internet or radio broadcasts in Canada
Buskers (street performers) or DJs working outside restaurants or bars or similar establishments Individuals who will be in business contracting or an employment relationship with the organization for their services in Canada
Foreign or travelling circus and their performers Canadian-based production or show performers
Foreign guest artists (not employed) within Canadian performance groups for time-limited engagements Specialty Act Entertainers:

Rodeo performers or sideshow workers (e.g., rodeo clowns, announcers, horsemanship or trick riding displays, ‘half-time acts’)

Individuals performing at private events, such as weddings  
Artists attending or working within a showcase/workshop; competing in contests, judging competitors, demonstrating their skill, or holding a class related to the showcase/workshop  
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) Wrestlers (and similar groups)  
Airshow performers  

Guest artists, invited to perform with a Canadian group, are covered under this exception only if their invitation is for a ‘time-limited engagement.’ Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada define this time limit as typically not; longer than two weeks, though some flexibility may be permitted.

An international guest artist who has been invited to rehearse and perform with a Canadian artist or group, for a more extended time-span, such as during a performance season, will require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit.

To facilitate working without a work permit, a performing artist, must not enter into any employment situation in Canada. They must not be a long-term employee of any Canadian organization, individual, or establishment.

Convention Organizers

Individuals who come to Canada to organize a convention or conference, as well as the administrative support staff of the organizing committee are covered in this category. These events may be corporate meetings or trade shows or exhibitions, etc.

Hands-on service providers and set-up personnel, such as audio-visual specialists or stagehands, are not included in the convention organizers category.

Canadian hired international convention organizers, hired to perform work for any Canadian event are not eligible to work in Canada without a work permit.

A ‘Canadian event’ as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is an event in Canada – held by an organization located in Canada and actively doing business in Canada.

Foreign individuals attending conferences or meetings are considered business visitors and are exempt from the work permit requirement.

Foreign Government Officers

Canada is a legal party in contracts with other countries which calls for an international exchange of government employees. Through these contracts; foreign workers are brought to Canada to work for an individual department or agency in either the Canadian federal or one of the provincial or territorial government(s). These foreign individuals do not work for a foreign mission or organization. Neither are these foreign individuals accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

Canada’s Public Service Commission (PSC) must issue these foreign officers, working in this capacity at an executive level, a contract to outline the expectations of the government and the duties of the foreign officers. Officers working below an executive capacity are not required to have a contract issued by the PSC. However, officer assignments lasting longer than three months in Canada would be advised to include a formal letter of agreement, or contract, between the officer and their Canadian employer.

Family members of foreign officers covered under this exemption may be exempted from the requirement for a permit or may be issued an open work permit while they are in Canada.

Examiners and Evaluators

Foreign professors and researchers could be required to enter Canada to evaluate theses and projects conducted by their students. In this case, the international professors or researchers are allowed, by the Canadian government, to do so without obtaining a work permit.

Health Care Students

Foreign health care students studying at international institutions are allowed to participate in clinical clerkships or short-term practicums in Canada without the requirement of work permits. International students in this category could be studying in fields such as medical technology, medicine, nursing and occupational and physical therapy. Such practicums must be unpaid and can last no more than four months.

Foreign health care students who receive remuneration for their work, or who will spend in access of four months in Canada, require a work permit.

Emergency Service Providers

Workers who arrange to enter Canada to provide services in times of Canadian emergency are allowed to do so without a work permit. The purpose of the work of Emergency Service Providers should be preserving life and/or property during times of natural disasters or industrial accidents.

Canada and the United States have explicitly entered into agreements with each other to facilitate the movement of emergency service providers across the border between the two countries. These workers may be foreign doctors or foreign medical teams or international appraisers or foreign insurance adjusters.

On-Campus Employment

An international student, who is eligible to work on-campus at their institution of study, may work on campus as long as the international student achieves one of the following criteria:

  • They are a recipient of a valid in Canada study permit; and
  • They are a full-time international student at one of the following types of Canadian educational facilities:
    • A Canadian public post-secondary institution (i.e. college or university) or in the province of Quebec; a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP).
    • A college-level private institution in Quebec
    • A Canadian private institution authorized to confer digress

Foreign student on-campus work authorization is valid only for the duration of the study permit and also provided the international student remains in full-time studies. International student employment covers a variety of regular jobs on campus. If an institution has multiple campuses, foreign students are allowed to consider their work ‘on-campus’ if it takes place at any same institution campus within the same city. A foreign student attending an institution with campuses in different cities, may not work in said different cities and is restricted to work ‘on-campus’ only in the city where they reside.

Foreign students working as research or teaching assistants ‘off-campus’ as part of a research grant are considered to be ‘on-campus’ workers. The international student must also achieve the following additional criteria:

  • International students must be recommended by their academic department; and
  • The work to be performed by the international student must be directed by a department head or faculty member; and
  • The work to be completed by the international student must take place in a Canadian research institute or program in a Canadian affiliated hospital or other Canadian research location.

Civil Aviation Inspectors

Foreign flight operations inspectors and foreign flight cabin safety inspectors are allowed to inspect commercial international flights without requiring a work permit. Foreign inspectors must be employed by a recognized aeronautical authority and hold valid documentation attesting to their credentials.

Aviation or Accident Investigators

Foreign accredited representatives and international advisors who are assisting in the investigation of an aviation accident or incident are allowed to do so without securing a work permit.

Any investigations of this type should be conducted under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

In-Flight Security Officers

Foreign IFSOs are selected by their international governments to enforce safety on foreign aircraft. Because a foreign government appoints them, the international IFSOs are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit provided their duties of the IFSOs do not extend beyond providing security on board the foreign airplane.

IFSOs from countries which require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada must first secure this visa – in advance – in order to perform their duties in Canadian airspace.

Athletes and Team Members

Foreign professional or amateur athletes are allowed to travel to Canada to participate in sports activities or events in Canada to compete, either individually or as part of a team. Likewise, foreign coaches and trainers of international athletes, as well as other essential international team members, may travel to Canada to participate in events.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have outlined the following samples of foreign individuals who may be eligible under this exemption sector:

  • International amateur players on Canadian teams
  • Foreign pet owners entering their personal animals in a show
  • Foreign jockeys racing horses from foreign-based stables
  • International race car drivers
  • Foreign individuals attending Canadian professional team tryouts
  • International team members participating in a competition in Canada
  • Foreign grooms or team support members
  • Full or part-time foreign coaches and trainers

The spouses of professional foreign athletes are eligible to seek a Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt work permit for their time in Canada.

News Reporters and Media Crews

Foreign news reporters and their crews who come to Canada in order to report on events in the country are allowed to do so without a work permit. These can include international journalists, provided the company they work for is not Canadian. However, this does not include foreign managerial or clerical personnel unless these individuals are in Canada covering special events that will last not more than six months.

Foreign media crews who come to Canada to produce travelogues or documentaries, etc., are required to secure Canadian work permits. However, Canadian Visa Officers reviewing these foreign applications have final discretion over the final application to require a Canadian work permit or not.

Judges, Referees and Similar Officials

Foreign judges, foreign referees and similar foreign officials are permitted to come to Canada to participate in international amateur sports, artistic, agricultural events, cultural events or competitions without the need of a Canadian work permit.

International ‘amateur’ sports events and competitions should be organized by an international amateur sports organization and hosted by a Canadian organization.

For the purpose of this information, as defined by the IRCC ‘amateur’ is described as a competition in which none of the athletes are paid to compete.

Foreign judges, referees and similar officials who will participate in professional sports competitions must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit.

Expert Witnesses and Investigators

Foreign experts who must enter Canada in order to conduct surveys or analyses of Canadian resource materials which will be used as evidence in Canadian court proceedings, or international experts who will testify as expert witnesses before a regulatory body or court of law, are permitted to do so without requiring a work permit.


A foreign individual who preaches or oversees religious services or provides spiritual counselling as a profession is allowed to work in Canada without a work permit. Foreign individuals may be defined as ordained ministers, laypeople, or members of a religious order.

It is not mandatory that the foreign temporary worker be part of, or share the beliefs of the religious community they will work in or be of service. It is recommended that the primary duties of the foreign temporary worker be a reflection of a particular religious objective. An example of this would be providing religious instruction or promoting a specific faith.

Foreign individuals seeking entry to Canada under the clergy exemption, are advised to provide documentation attesting to the following:

  • The genuineness and validity of the offer of employment; and
  • Their ability to minister to a congregation (credentials, past employment, etc.)

Foreign individuals who will be in Canada conducting charitable or religious work, in Canada, require a work permit. However, the permit is exempt from needing the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

American Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers

Canadian and American crews jointly staff some cross-border law enforcement vessels. These individuals are permitted to work on both sides of the Canada/US border. When in Canadian territory, American crew members are allowed to fulfill their job duties without the need to secure further work authorization.


As per the Canadian immigration rules and regulations, international spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers and international students, who want to be able to work in Canada, will need an open work permit.

Open work permits may also be available through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international students.

A pilot program introduced in December 2014, by the IRCC, allows spouses and common-law partners of Temporary Foreign Workers, being sponsored through the Inland Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Category of the Family Class, would typically be granted an open work permit while the application for permanent residence is in processing.

The recipient of an open work permit is allowed work for any Canadian employer, without first receiving a confirmed offer of employment. A Canadian open work permit is not job-specific.

Under Canadian immigration regulations, open work permits may be applied for by the following individuals:

  • the spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers;
  • the spouses or common-law partners of international students;
  • international students who have already graduated from any Canadian post-secondary institution.

To be eligible for an open work permit, graduating international students must achieve the requirements under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

To be considered eligible to receive an open work permit, the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary foreign worker must demonstrate that:

  • The principal temporary foreign worker has employment in Canada which achieves the following skill standards:
    • at a skilled management level, or
    • a job in a skilled professional occupation, or
    • as a technical or skilled tradesperson.
  • The skill level of the principal temporary foreign worker’s job must be a level 0, A or B, according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • The skill level requirement does not apply to principal temporary foreign workers nominated for permanent residence by a province or territory (provincial nominees).
  • The principal temporary foreign worker is permitted to work in Canada for not less than six months.

The common-law partner or spouse of an international student may not themselves be full-time students. The following factors must be demonstrated to be eligible for an Open Work Permit:

  • The international student is studying in a Canadian post-secondary, publicly-funded and diploma/degree-granting educational institution; or
  • The international student has graduated and is the recipient of a valid work permit for a job related to their studies.

For common-law partners and spouses, open work permits are typically issued with a valid date that coincides with the specified time-period their spouse is scheduled to work or study in Canada, or any remaining time-period – for cases where the spouse or common-law partner entered Canada after the international student.

Open work permits may also be made available to candidates for the International Experience Canada program.


In order to convey a temporary foreign worker to Canada, an applying Canadian employer must receive an affirmative Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). There are several sub-sectors where the requirement for an LMIA can be relinquished.

Common LMIA-exempt streams are charted below into the following sections:

  • Significant benefit
  • Reciprocal employment
  • Charitable and religious workers
  • Special needs individual assessments


If a temporary foreign worker’s situation is exempt from the requirement of obtaining an LMIA, it does not mean the foreign national is exempt from requiring and getting a Canadian work permit.

All streams on the temporary foreign worker, LMIA exemption list, entail the temporary foreign worker to attain a work permit to work in Canada legally.


Aside from the outlined situations listed below as “Objective Measures for Significant Social or Cultural Benefit,” Canadian Visa Officers have a measure of flexibility in evaluating if the issuance of a work permit to a foreign national is necessary without the necessity for an LMIA to be secured. The decision to waive the LMIA is known as “significant social or cultural benefit.”

The foreign national’s proposed benefit to Canada must be essential or notable, Canadian Visa Officers classically rely on the testimony provided by credible, trustworthy, and distinguished experts in the foreign national’s field. Officers may also refer to any objective evidence provided. The foreign national’s previous record is a good indicator of the level of achievement to be expected by the foreign national.

Objective Measures For “Significant Social Or Cultural Benefit”:

  • An official academic transcript verifying the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from the recognized college, university, school, or other institution of learning; the foreign national attended; relating to the reported area of their skills;
  • Evidence from the current or former employers of the foreign national showing the foreign national has the required full-time experience in the occupation for which the foreign national is expected to immigrate to Canada (‘required full-time experience’ in this context, can be taken to mean the foreign national has ten or more years experience);
  • Evidence submitted as verification the foreign national is or has been a recipient of national or international awards or patent;
  • Proof of membership in specific organizations requiring excellence of its members;
  • Evidence of having been the judge of the work of others;
  • Proof of recognition for having achievements and significant contributions to the field by peers or governmental organizations or professional or business associations;
  • Evidence of scientific or scholarly contributions by the foreign national to the industry;
  • Publications authored by the foreign national contributing in academic or industry publications; and.or
  • Proof the foreign national has held a leading role in an organization with a distinguished reputation.


An LMIA exemption could be granted to private entrepreneurs who wish to come to Canada temporarily to start or operate a business.

Foreign National Applicants to one of these programs must be the sole or majority owners of the company they wish to operate in Canada. Applicants will also have to demonstrate that their business will be of ‘significant benefit to Canada.’

Entrepreneur candidates are only eligible for LMIA-exempt work permits if they can show that their work in Canada is of a temporary nature.

This category is well suited to foreign owners of seasonal businesses. Entrepreneur candidates who have already submitted an application for Canadian Permanent Residence could also qualify for LMIA-exempt work permits in this category.


Intra-Company Transferees could be approved for an LMIA exemption, for a temporary assignment to Canada. Transferees must be considered to be executives or executive managers, or specialized knowledge employees, and must work for a global company with a qualifying association to the company in Canada.


Spouses or common-law partners and children of Foreign Workers holding current Canadian work permits for the skilled jobs do not require an LMIA. This LMIA exemption does not apply to the spouses or common-law partners or children of workers on an International Exchange Program.


Coordinated Canadian federal government and Francophone minority communities, may be able to provide work to foreign nationals to work in Canada through Mobilité Francophone. Foreign nationals who have been enlisted through a francophone immigration promotional event, or who are intended for a province or territory other than Quebec might be eligible for an LMIA exemption. Foreign nationals must be qualified under a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B.


Academics include guest lecturers, researchers and visiting professors who may receive an LMIA exemption.


Provincial Nominees recommended for permanent residence and who have obtained a valid job offer in that province could receive an LMIA exemption.


Reciprocal employment agreements between Canada and countries abroad allow foreign workers to become employed in Canada when Canadians have similar respective work opportunities in countries where the foreign workers originated.


Canada is a legal party in a variety of international agreements which facilitate the admission of foreign workers into Canada. Access of foreign workers, into Canada, under these agreements, is considered to be, ‘of significant benefit to Canada’ and as such, does not require an LMIA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an example of this case.


Canada is a participant in some programs for international youth exchange. Such programs include the International Experience Canada (IEC), Working Holiday Visa, Student Co-op programs, Young Professionals programs, and teacher exchange programs. These programs are all exempt from the need for an LMIA.


Charitable workers

In the Canadian context, charity is defined as the relief of poverty, advancement of education or certain other purposes that benefit the community.

Due to this context, as it pertains to this situation, individual charitable workers do not require an LMIA to enter the Canadian labour market temporarily.

If an organization is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a charity, it is a reliable indicator that an organization is charitable in its structure.

International workers may also be able to work in Canada for a charity structured organization under this LMIA-exempt provision even if it is not registered with the CRA; the Canadian Visa Officer may opt to request additional information from the charity organization employer in such instances.

The Canadian government distinguishes between a charitable worker, who requires a work permit; and a volunteer worker, who is work-permit exempt. A volunteer worker does not enter the Canadian labour market, and his or her presence in Canada has no bearing on the primary purpose of the visit.

A charitable worker, however, usually takes a position involving an activity that meets the Canadian immigration definition of work. As such, a charitable worker may be compensated for their work in Canada. The compensation causes the charity worker to require a work permit, though the LMIA process is not required.

Religious Workers

Religious work typically entails a requirement for a foreign national worker to be part of, or share the beliefs of, or be an integral part of the particular religious community where the international worker intends to work. The foreign national may have a contractual requirement to have the ability to teach and share other religious views, as required by the employer.

For this LMIA-exempt category, the primary duties of any foreign national need to imitate a specific religious purpose, for example, the provision of religious education or advancement of one particular religion or faith.

The work ought to involve advancing the spiritual teachings and traditions of religious faith or to maintain religious doctrines and spiritual observances upon which the lessons are based.

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