A Labor Market Impact Assessment is a document issued by the Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC) evaluating the impact of hiring a foreign worker in Canada. A positive LMIA states that there is a need to fill a position with a foreign worker, while a negative LMIA confirms that this position in the first place should be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

While an LMIA is usually required for a Canadian employer to hire a temporary foreign worker, here are the following exemptions to an LMIA:

Under the International Mobility Program:

International Experience Canada (IEC) – reciprocal exchange of young professional;

International Agreements – such as NAFTA, GATS or CETA;

Post-Graduation Work Permit – employment opportunity for international students who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution;
Intra-Company Transfer Program – allows certain companies to transfer a foreign national to a Canadian region to develop their business for the benefit of Canadians.

The LMIA exemptions meet the following requirements:

  • Broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada; and
  • Reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.

For your employer to be exempt from an LMIA, you need to need the following requirements:

  1. You must have at least one year of full-time work experience;

  2. You must have a valid job offer, and

  3. You must have a valid work permit that is exempt from an LMIA under

    • An international agreement;
    • A federal-provincial agreement; or
    • The “Canadian interests” category”.
Immigrating to Canada without an LMIA-based job offer

The Express Entry System is an online system that awards points to candidates based on their age, education, work experience, and other factors. You need to open a profile in the Express Entry and get at least 67 points in the Federal Skilled Program (FSW). Each candidate receives a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score, and the IRCC selects eligible candidates every two weeks.

Important: jobs that don’t need an LMIA still are required to have a work permit.