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

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

If your hiring situation is covered by one of the IRCC’s LMIA exemption codes or a work permit exemption, you won’t have to go through the process of IRCC’s Employer Portal.

Employers in Quebec do not require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) to hire through the IMP.
The following are some of the LMIA-exempt work permits and work permit-exempt programs in Canada.

Transfer within a company (ICT)

Through an Intra Company Transfer, multinational organizations may be able to send critical personnel to work in their Canadian site (ICT).

Canada announces measures to facilitate the arrival of Ukrainians in the country

Companies that have a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate site in Canada are eligible for this option. It is insufficient to simply have a physical location.

Furthermore, in Canada, the occupation may be limited to executives and senior managers, functional managers, or employees with a specific understanding of the company’s products, services, processes, and procedures.


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

CUSMA, formerly known as NAFTA, permits Canada, the United States, and Mexico to exchange talent without requiring LMIAs.

Under CUSMA, there are four types of temporary work that are covered:

CUSMA Professionals — Workers who have pre-arranged employment and are qualified to work in one of around 60 targeted professions.
Managers, executives, or workers with specialized knowledge transferring to Canada to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their U.S. or Mexican firm under the CUSMA Intra-Company Transfers program.
CUSMA Traders – Individuals who are coming to Canada to conduct significant trade in goods or services between Canada and the United States or Mexico.

CUSMA Investors – Investors who have made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and are coming to Canada to develop and direct the business.


Canada’s free trade agreement with the European Union and its member states is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

There are four groups of people who may benefit from CETA:

Business visitors – This category includes short-term business visitors and business visitors coming to Canada for investment purposes.
Intra-company transferees – Senior personnel and specialists may transfer to a Canadian branch without an LMIA.
Investors – European investors who have made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and are coming to Canada to develop and direct the business.
Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals – This CETA category is for certain service suppliers and independent professionals.

TV and film

TV and film productions can bring essential personnel to Canada through the TV and Film Production Work Permit Category.

Foreign and Canadian production companies can use this work permit category to bring talent to Canadian locations if they can demonstrate the work to be performed by the foreign national is essential to the production.

Business Visitors

Business visitors can enter Canada to conduct business or trade activity without needing a work permit. This exemption may apply to people who are coming to Canada to attend a conference, buy Canadian goods or services for a foreign entity, train employees, or be trained for work that will be done outside of Canada, among others. They also could be providing after-sales or lease services.

These are some of the general criteria to qualify as a business visitor:

the intended duration of stay in Canada is for less than six months;
the foreign national does not plan to enter the Canadian labor market, and their main place of income or source of income and profits is outside of Canada; and
the foreign national meets Canada’s basic entry requirements including a valid passport, enough money to finance the entire stay and return home, and is not criminally or medically inadmissible.
Business visitors may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to cross the border.

After-sales or lease services

If a worker is coming to Canada to do repairs and servicing, supervise installers, or set up and test commercial or industrial equipment (including computer software) they may not need a Canadian work permit. People who do this type of work may be considered business visitors.

Setting up does not include hands-on installation generally performed by construction or building trades, such as electricians or pipefitters.

After-sales or lease services also apply to people coming to repair or service specialized equipment purchased or leased outside Canada, provided the service is being performed as part of the original or extended sales agreement, lease or rental agreement, warranty, or service contract.

It includes situations where the sales or lease agreement or purchase order is for a software upgrade to operate previously sold or leased equipment. Also, a service person coming to Canada to install, configure or give training on the upgraded software may be considered a business visitor.

Hands-on building and construction work is not covered by this provision.

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