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Powerful LMIA-Exempt Work Permits of Canada

Updated: May 15

This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of LMIA-exempt work permits and how they might be a suitable option for you.

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Powerful LMIA-Exempt Work Permits of Canada

Canada, known for its welcoming immigration policies, offers various work permits to foreign nationals looking to work in the country. One such permit type is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permit. 

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. It serves as proof that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

So, What is an LMIA-Exempt Work Permit?

An LMIA-exempt work permit, as the name suggests, is a permit that allows a foreign national to work in Canada without the need for their employer to obtain an LMIA. These are typically issued under the International Mobility Program, which seeks to advance Canada's broad economic and cultural national interest.

Who Can Apply for an LMIA-Exempt Work Permit?

Several categories of workers can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit, including:

Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit

Intra-company transferees are employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the same company in Canada through the Intra-Company Transfer Program.

Usually, employers in Canada are required to obtain an LMIA before they can hire foreign workers. However, in the case of an intra-company transferee, the employer does not need to secure an LMIA. This exemption is designed to promote business growth by making it easier for international companies to bring their skilled employees to work in Canada.

To be eligible for an LMIA-exempt intra-company transfer work permit, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The applicant must be currently employed by a multinational company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that company.

  2. The applicant must have been employed full-time for at least 1 year OR 6 months in a Canada-Peru agreement within the last three years in a role similar to the one they are transferring to in Canada.


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eliminates the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for all business professionals covered under the agreement.

NAFTA categorizes these business persons into four distinct groups:

  1. Business visitors - These individuals are permitted to travel to Canada for business-related activities under R186(a), and they can perform their duties without needing a work permit.

  2. Professionals - While professionals do not need to undergo an LMIA, they must secure a work permit.

  3. Intra-company transferees - These individuals are also exempt from the LMIA process, but they are required to obtain a work permit.

  4. Traders and investors - Similar to intra-company transferees and professionals, traders and investors are not subjected to the LMIA process. However, they must apply for and receive a work permit from a visa office before their departure to Canada.

CETA Work Permit

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect on September 21, 2017. This agreement simplifies the entry process for specific business individuals who are citizens of Canada and the member states of the European Union (EU) by eliminating the need for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs).

CETA encompasses three distinct categories of business visitors:

  1. Key personnel: This group includes intra-corporate transferees, investors, and business visitors who are visiting for investment-related purposes.

  2. Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals: These are individuals who provide services under a contract or operate as independent professionals.

  3. Short-term business visitors: These are individuals visiting for a short period for business-related activities.

CPTPP Work Permit

  1. Investor Work Permit: This category is designed for individuals who make a significant investment in Canada. The investor and their essential personnel may be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the CPTPP. The individual must be actively involved in the management of the business, and the investment must have the potential to create jobs or contribute to Canada's economic growth.

  2. Intra-company Transfers: This exemption is meant for employees transferring from a foreign branch of a company to a Canadian branch. The employee must have been employed by the overseas enterprise for at least one year in the last three years and must be transferring to a position in the same company in Canada in a similar role. Both the overseas and Canadian businesses must have a qualifying relationship, such as parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.

  3. Professional or Technician Work Permit: This is for professionals or technicians who are citizens of a CPTPP country and have a job offer in Canada in a field covered by the agreement. The individual must have the necessary credentials and professional qualifications for the job. The employer doesn't need an LMIA, but the worker needs a job offer and must meet specific requirements to qualify.

  4. Spouse Work Permit: Spouses of workers who have an LMIA-exempt work permit under the CPTPP may also be eligible for an open work permit, allowing them to work for any employer in Canada. The permit's validity will typically match the duration of their spouse's work permit. This permit does not require a job offer, and the spouse can work in any occupation and change employers freely.

CCFTA Work Permit

The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) provides Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemptions for certain types of work permits. These include:

  1. Investor Work Permit: Under the CCFTA, investors who are citizens of Chile and have made or are planning to make a substantial investment in a business in Canada can obtain an LMIA-exempt work permit. The investor must be seeking entry to develop and direct the business. This means they must control at least 50% of the business and must have a supervisory or executive role or possess essential skills.

  2. Intra-company Transfers: This exemption category is for employees of a company in Chile who are being transferred to a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of that company in Canada. The employee must have been continuously employed by the company for at least one of the three preceding years and must be employed in a capacity that is managerial, executive, or involves specialized knowledge.

  3. Traders Work Permit: Traders who are engaged in substantial trade in goods or services principally between Canada and Chile may also qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit under CCFTA. The traders must be key personnel such as executives or supervisors, or essential skilled workers who are vital to the firm's operation in Canada.

  4. Professionals Work Permit: Professionals from Chile who have a job offer in Canada in one of the professions listed in the CCFTA can obtain an LMIA-exempt work permit. The individual must possess the necessary educational credentials and professional qualifications to work in that profession in Canada. This permit requires a job offer from a Canadian employer, but it does not require an LMIA.

How to Apply for an LMIA-Exempt Work Permit?

The application process involves the employer submitting an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and paying a compliance fee. The foreign worker will then apply for the work permit either online or at a port of entry (for visa-exempt foreign nationals only).

What are the Benefits of an LMIA-Exempt Work Permit?

The most significant benefit of an LMIA-exempt work permit is that it simplifies the process for both the employer and the foreign worker. The employer doesn't need to go through the often lengthy and complex LMIA process, and the foreign worker can usually start working in Canada more quickly.

Let us handle the LMIA-exempt work permit processing for you!

Our team of experienced Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) is well-versed in the intricacies of immigration law and the various trade agreements that may exempt you from the LMIA process. 

We will guide you through each step, ensuring your application is accurately completed and submitted on time. This way, you can focus on preparing for your new venture in Canada, while we take care of the paperwork. 

Trust us, relax, and look forward to a smooth transition to your new work life in Canada.


While the LMIA-exempt work permit provides a convenient route for many foreign workers to work in Canada, navigating the immigration system can be challenging. At Chitra & Associates, we have vast experience helping clients secure their LMIA-exempt work permits, ensuring a smooth transition into their new jobs in Canada. 

Contact us today for expert guidance on your immigration journey.

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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