How Can I Work in Canada Without an LMIA

How Can I Work in Canada Without an LMIA

The purpose of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is to make sure that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour force. For the most part, before employers in Canada can hire a foreign worker, they must get an LMIA. A positive LMIA proves that the employer has tried and failed to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. So the employer needs to hire a foreign national instead. When a foreign national applies for a Canadian work permit, they need to have a copy of the positive LMIA. However, there are some exceptions. Check out how can you work in Canada without an LMIA.

1. Entrepreneurs or self-employed persons visa

Entrepreneurs or self-employed persons who want to come to Canada to start or run a business may be granted an LMIA exemption. Applicants under this program must be sole or majority owners of the business. Their business or self-employed work should offer significant benefits to Canada.

2. International Experience Canada (youth exchange programs)

International Experience Canada (IEC) provides candidates the opportunity to gain life-changing personal and professional experience by traveling and working abroad. You can participate in the program under three categories:

    • Working Holiday (France only summer jobs)
    • Young Professionals
    • International Co-op (Internship)

3. Reciprocal Employment

This agreement allows foreign workers to take up employment in Canada when Canadians have similar reciprocal opportunities abroad. The agreement can be in the form of International Agreements or International Exchange Programs.

4. Intra-Company Transferees (ICT)

Foreign businesses that have a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate business in Canada can bring their employees personnel to Canada through Intra-Company Transferees.

5. Significant Benefits

In this case, you will have to convince the immigration officer that you have been internationally renowned and that your presence in Canada would bring social, cultural, or economic benefits to Canada.

6. The International Mobility Program 

This program lets an employer hire a temporary worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In most cases, employers will have to submit an offer of employment through their employer portal. After the employer’s part is done, the temporary foreign worker must apply for a work permit.

7. Minister-Designated Exemptions

If you’re in academics or you’re a researcher, guest lecturer, and visiting professor, you can work in Canada through a recognized federal program. Medical residents and fellows, and people who have received academic awards through Canadian institutions are also allowed to work in Canada without an LMIA.

8. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

This program allows certain business visitors, investors, service providers, and independent professionals to come to Canada without an LMIA.

9. Charitable and Religious Workers

A charitable worker working in an organization for the relief of poverty, advancement of education, or certain other purposes that benefit the Canadian community can work in Canada without an LMIA. A religious worker coming to Canada for the promotion of a religion or faith can also work here without requiring any LMIA.

10. French-Speaking Skilled Workers

French-speaking skilled workers who have a valid job offer in Canada may be exempt from needing an LMIA.


There are many Canadian work permit options that do not require an LMIA. You have to know the best pathway based on your background, education, work, and other requirements. 

If you want to come to Canada and work and settle here permanently? Complete our free self-assessment form here to discover your immigration options!

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