Some foreign nationals who want to work in Canada temporarily can do so without obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
The LMIA is a labor market test required by the Government of Canada when an employer seeks to hire a foreign national due to a labor shortage. However, Canada also allows some foreign nationals to work here without the need for an LMIA for broader economic, social and cultural policy reasons.
One of the ways Canada allows this to happen is through the Canadian Interests category of the International Mobility Program (IMP), which includes four streams that will be outlined below.
Stream 1: Competitiveness and Public Policy
The Competitiveness and Public Policy Section aims to grant work permits to foreign nationals if they are performing duties that, from a public policy perspective, are beneficial to Canadian educational institutions and/or the economy.
The most prominent non-LMIA program in the entire work permit sector falls under this stream. The program in question is called the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program.
PGWP is a program within the Canadian Interests category that provides international students who have graduated from an eligible program at any Canadian designated educational institution the opportunity to work for a Canadian employer of their choice without an existing job offer There is an open work permit for up to three years. at the time of application.
Note: While this program allows for a permit of up to three years, the actual duration of the permit will depend on the length of the educational program from which the applicant graduated.
This program is notable because Canada issues most of its non-LMIA work permits on an annual basis.
Also included in the Competitiveness and Public Policy stream is a program that provides Open Work Permits to full-time students and spouses and common-law partners of foreign nationals who have come to Canada as skilled workers.
Section 2: Key Benefits
Another way to work in Canada without an LMIA is if their work is deemed to provide significant social or cultural benefits to this country. Under this section, work permits are granted to foreign workers who intend to perform such duties through the creation/maintenance of benefits of a social, cultural or economic nature or by creating new opportunities for Canadians. Benefits Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
“Significant benefits” are broadly defined using expert testimonials from individuals in the same field of work as the foreign national applying for the work permit. However, beyond these testimonials, Canada will also use the following objective measures, including the applicant’s past record of achievement, to determine their ability to provide benefits to Canada through their work:
- An official academic record showing that the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate or similar achievement from an educational institution related to their field of work
- Evidence from current or former employers showing that the applicant has 10 or more years of experience in the occupation for which they are coming to Canada
- Whether the applicant has been a recipient of any national or international award or patent
- Proof of membership of the applicant in organizations requiring excellence of its members
- Has the applicant ever been a judge of others’ work
- Evidence of the applicant being recognized for achievements and significant contributions to the field by peers, government organizations, or professional or professional associations
- Evidence of scientific or scholarly contribution to the applicant’s field
- Any work authored by the applicant in academic or industry publications
- Whether the applicant has held a leadership role in an organization of reputed repute
The following will outline some of the programs that exist within the IMP’s important benefit streams.
Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed: Individual entrepreneurs aiming to start or operate a business in Canada. In this case, the applicant must be the sole or majority owner of a Canadian business and must prove that the benefit to Canada from the business will be significant.
Intra-company transfer: Work permit applicants coming to Canada through the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) program to work in an affiliate, parent company, subsidiary or Canadian branch of their foreign employer
PNP Nominees as Entrepreneurs: Any potential nominee coming to Canada as an entrepreneur through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Stream 3: Interpersonal Employment
A third route to work in Canada without an LMIA involves foreign nationals seeking employment opportunities in Canada as a byproduct of the same opportunities being provided to Canadians working abroad.
In other words, the purpose of the Reciprocal Employment Clause is to provide work permits to foreign nationals who will perform duties in Canada, resulting in either creating or maintaining international relationships that benefit Canadian citizens or permanent residents in other countries. Will provide employment opportunities. Worldwide.
Under this section, foreign nationals wishing to work in Canada can do so without an LMIA, thanks to international agreements and international exchange programs that allow non-Canadians to come to work in this country and work in countries around the world. Mutually benefiting naturalized Canadians.
International Agreements: Due to the existence of international agreements such as the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as of 2020 – provided a measure of reciprocal employment for Canadians in many countries For. Therefore, the entry of foreign workers into Canada through these agreements is considered a significant benefit to the country, negating the LMIA requirement for eligible foreign nationals.
International Exchange Programs: Programs such as International Experience Canada (IEC) exist to provide Canadians with opportunities to thrive by experiencing life abroad. In such cases, foreign nationals applying through the IMP from countries that maintain working relations with Canada are exempt from the LMIA requirement.
Stream 4: Charitable and Religious Worker
Finally, under the Charitable and Religious Workers Section, Canada provides foreign work permit applicants coming to Canada who wish to conduct duties that are “of a religious or charitable nature” the opportunity to do so without an LMIA.
For these purposes, Canada defines charitable and religious work as:
Charitable work: Work that is done with the goal of alleviating poverty, furthering education, or providing other benefits to the community.
Some key points about the way Canada interprets charitable works:
- Organizations registered as charities with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are viewed as more credible with respect to those actually being seen as “charitable in nature”.
- Volunteer charity workers do not need a work permit
- Standard charity employees require a work permit but remain LMIA-exempt
Religious Work: Work where it is necessary for the foreign national applicant to be “part of, or share in, the particular religious community where they intend to work or have the ability to teach or share other religious beliefs.”
Note: the work done by the applicant must “reflect a particular religious purpose” such as providing religious instruction or promoting a particular faith
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