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Posted on November 30 2022

4 ways to work in Canada without LMIA

By  Editor
Updated May 10 2023


Highlights: 4 ways to work in Canada without LMIA

  • Canada offers 4 ways to work temporarily in the country without obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) allows four different streams that permit foreign nationals to work temporarily.
  • Competitiveness & public policy stream, significant benefit, Reciprocal employment, and Charitable & Religious workers streams are the four ways for a work permit.

*Check your eligibility for Canada through Y-Axis Canada immigration points calculator

Migrate to Canada for work without LMIA

Canada to address the shortages in the workforce, has been easing immigration policies and introducing various economic pathways, and exempting a few tests for some of the pathways.

A foreign national who is looking for work in Canada temporarily can get a work permit without requiring to obtain an LMIA.


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What is an LMIA?

An LMIA is a labor market test that the government of Canada requires when an employer is searching for a foreign national to hire due to labor shortages. Canada permits foreign nationals to work temporarily without LMIA for many cultural, economic, and social policy reasons.

The main pathway that provides the four streams that allow foreign nationals to work temporarily is International Mobility Program (IMP). The four streams are explained below in detail.

Stream 1: Competitiveness and public policy Stream

The main purpose of this stream is to provide work permits for foreign nationals, in case they are performing duties and have limited access to the Canadian labor market which is necessary from point of public policy that tries and continues to maintain the competition between academic institutions in Canada and/or economy.

One of the most notable non-LMIA programs in the entire work permit area in this stream. The program is called the PGWP (Post-Graduation Work Permit) program.

The PGWP program in the Canadian interests category provides foreign students who graduated from a study program from any CDLI (Canadian designated learning institution). By having an open permit for work for around 3 years to work under a Canadian employer of their option without having an existing job offer during the time of application.

Do you want to work in Canada? Get expert assistance from Y-Axis overseas career consultant

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No LMIA required for Canadian Significant Benefit Work Permit


This program allows foreign nationals permits for 3 years, the original length of the permit depends on the duration of the education program with which the applicant is graduated.

Under this program, Canada provides most of its non-LMIA work permits per annum

This program includes the competitiveness & public policy stream that gives open work permits to the common-law partners and spouses of the students (full-time) and the foreign nationals who have come to work as skilled workers in Canada.

Stream 2: Significant benefit stream

The second stream for a Canadian work permit without an LMIA is a significant benefit stream that provides significant cultural or social benefits to this country.

Under the significant benefit stream, the work permit is given to foreign workers who wish to do the duty that benefits the citizens of Canada and permanent residents either through the creation/maintenance of benefits that are in terms of cultural or economic, or social by creating the newest opportunities for Canadians.

A significant benefit is mostly defined as using expert testimonials from people in the same field of work as a foreign national trying for a work permit. Apart from the testimonials Canada also makes use of the following objectives which include the applicant’s previous record of achievement, which determines their ability to provide benefit to the country through their work:

  • An official academic record that shows that the international citizen has a diploma certificate, degree, or an achievement that is similar to any learning institution related to their work area.
  • Proof of evidence from present or former employers providing the applicant has 10 or more years of experience in the occupation for which they are entering Canada.
  • If an applicant has got a recipient of any national or international patents or awards.
  • A proof of evidence of the applicant’s membership in organizations that requires excellence of its members.
  • If the applicant was part of the judge of others' work.
  • A piece of evidence that proves that the applicant has been recognized for their achievements and significant contributions to the concerned field by peers, professional/business organizations, or governmental organizations.
  • The evidence of scientific/ scholarly contributions of an applicant to the concerned field
  • A piece of work that is authored by industry or academic publications
  • If the applicant has been in a leading role in any organization with a notable reputation.

Following are some of the programs that exist in the significant benefit stream of the IMP

Programs In Significant Benefit Stream Eligible Candidates Their Role
Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed Independent entrepreneurs who intend to begin or operate some business in Canada The applicant needs to be the sole or majority owner of Canadian businesses and prove that it benefits Canada by being significant.
Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) Work permit applicants using the ICT program entering Canada to work The applicants either can work for an affiliate, subsidiary, parent company, or Canadian branch of their foreign employer
PNP Nominees as Entrepreneurs A potential nominee through a PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) entering Canada as an entrepreneur N/A

Stream 3: Reciprocal employment Stream

The third pathway to work in Canada without obtaining an LMIA includes foreign nationals who receive work opportunities in Canada as a product of similar kinds of opportunities that are been given to Canadians who work abroad.

The main purpose of the reciprocal employment stream of IMP is to give work permits to international citizens who perform their duties in Canada which consequently either helps to create/maintain international relationships which provide employment opportunities to citizens of Canada/PRs in other parts of countries in the world.

With this stream, international citizens who are looking for work in Canada can do it without applying for LMIA. We should appreciate the international agreements and exchange programs that mutually benefit the non-Canadians who come for work to Canada and natural-born Canadians who work in the country around the world.

Agreements that help this stream Programs that provide opportunities under this stream Miscellaneous information
International Agreements United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) With these programs there is a measures of reciprocal employment that is provided to Canadians at many international locations. Hence the admission for international citizens with these agreements is considered significant benefit and eligible for the candidate
International Exchange Programs International Experience Canada (IEC) These measure of IEC give a different life abroad experience. The foreign nationals who apply through using IMP from different countries uphold working relationships with Canada and are exempted from LMIA

Stream 4: Charitable and religious workers stream

Canada issues work permits for foreign applicants entering Canada having intentions to do duties that are of a charitable or religious nature, by giving an opportunity without having an LMIA.

Canada determines the charitable and religious work for the following purposes:

Charitable Work: To work to relieve poverty, provide benefits to the community, or advance education.

The keynotes about the way Canada explains charitable work:

  • The organizations lodged as charities with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) are seen as more reliable by viewed as truly “charitable in nature”.
  • There is no need for a work permit for volunteer charitable workers
  • LMIA exempted from a Standard charitable worker's work permit

Religious work:

This is a work where an international citizen applicant is needed to be part of, or share, or beliefs of the concerned religious community where they have to work or have the ability to share or teach other religious beliefs.

Willing to migrate to Canada? Talk to Y-Axis, the world’s no.1 overseas immigration consultant.

Also Read: Canada’s top jobs for LMIA-exempt work permit holders in 2021 Web Story: No LMIA needed to work in Canada: 4 ways to get a temporary work permit


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