As a general rule, Canadian employers who wish to employ a foreign national are mandated to secure a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, this general rule admits exceptions, hence, foreign nationals applying for a Canadian work permit, may be allowed to enter the country without the need of LMIA. Canada recognizes some of the bilateral and multilateral agreements with several countries under the International Mobility Programs, in order to accommodate the free movement of foreign national workers across borders.

Under the International Mobility Programs, the following foreign national workers are exempted from requiring a Labour Market Opinion from an Employment and Social Development Canada officer:

  • Workers covered under international agreements;
  • Provincial Nominees;
  • Dependents, both spouses and children, of foreign workers who are holders of Canadian work permit for a skilled position;
  • Religious Workers;
  • Intra-company Transferees Participants in programs like the Working Holiday Visa program or (IEC);
  • Ph.D. students pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship at a Canadian university;
  • Co-op students; and
  • Spouses and common-law partners of full-time foreign students who are eligible for open work permits.


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