In February 2015, the government of Canada announced a change for the labour market access of foreign workers.



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Inception date: 21 Feb 2015 | Removal date: open ended

Labour market access

As of February 21, 2015, Canadian employers hiring foreign nationals who are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process are required to submit information about their business or organization, the Offer of Employment form, and pay a $230 fee to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). A foreign national who is exempt from the LMIA process will not be able to get an employer-specific work permit if their employer has not submitted the required information and paid the fee before the work permit application is submitted. According to CIC, "The fees collected will offset the cost of introducing robust employer compliance activities featuring inspections of thousands of employers."
An LMIA is a document that allows an employer to hire a foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The following types of workers are exempt from a LMIA, but need a work permit:

  • People taking part in exchange programs
    • youth exchange programs,
    • teacher exchange programs and
    • other joint programs.
  • Spouses 
    This group can include:
    • spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign students who study full time;
    • spouses and common-law partners of certain skilled foreign workers; and
    • spouses and common-law partners who are in Canada and have been sponsored through the Family Class by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have applied for permanent residence.
  • Workers who are eligible for a work permit through a federal-provincial/territorial agreement
    • Agreements between the Government of Canada and provincial/territorial governments can include specific exemptions from the LMIA process. Find out if you are eligible to come to Canada through a federal-provincial/territorial agreement.
  • Workers nominated by a province or territory for permanent residence
    • The worker must have a job offer from an employer based in that province/territory.
  • People already working in Canada who have applied for permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or Canadian Experience Class
    • The worker must have received a positive eligibility assessment on their permanent residence application and have a work permit that will expire within the next four months to be eligible.
  • Workers transferred within a company
    • workers who have been transferred to their company's Canadian operations.
  • Academics
    • researchers, guest lecturers, visiting professors and others.
  • Co-op students
    • international students studying in Canada and doing co-op work placements or internships as part of their study program.
  • Religious workers
    • people doing charitable or religious work.
  • Others
    • people who need to support themselves while they are in Canada, such as those waiting on a refugee claim.