Navigating LMIA Exemptions for Certain Foreign Workers

In Canada, the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process is a requirement for Canadian employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers. The process aims to ensure that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact Canadian workers’ job opportunities.

Learn more about the LMIA process in another piece from our immigration group: here.

However, exemptions exist from the LMIA process exist for certain occupations and nationalities based on Free Trade Agreements, such as Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement  (CETA), as well as specific agreements with countries such as Colombia, Chile, and Korea.

Through LMIA exemptions, employers can streamline the hiring process for certain foreign workers, saving time and resources. Section 204 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations identifies certain Free Trade Agreements—to which Canada is a signatory—and labor mobility clauses within those agreements that specify occupations for which an LMIA is not required.

Under CUSMA, an enumerated list of professionals, as well as investors and intracompany transfers may enter Canada on work permits without the need for an LMIA. In general terms, other Free Trade Agreements provide, in the labour mobility clauses, similar categorizations of foreign workers who are exempt from the LMIA process.

It is important to note that while certain foreign workers may be exempt from the LMIA process, they still must meet other immigration requirements, such as obtaining a valid work permit. Employers must ensure that they comply with all relevant immigration laws and regulations.

In conclusion, employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers in Canada should consider the nationality and occupation of the worker and examine the various agreements enumerated to determine if that worker may avoid the delay associated with the LMIA process. While exemptions from the LMIA process can save time and resources, it is crucial to ensure that all relevant immigration requirements are met, and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

For more information, please contact Bruce Harwood from our Immigration Practice Area.