On February 3, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”, previously “CIC”) introduced new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) exemptions, and expanded the Business Visitors category for certain foreign nationals so that they may work in Canada without a work permit.
The specific changes are:
- the introduction of a LMIA exemption for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents;
- the introduction of a LMIA exemption to prospective foreign workers working in dance, opera, orchestra and live theatre whose work contributes to competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits for all Canadians, including Canadian performing artists and performing arts organizations; and
- that foreign nationals who are employed as film producers, essential personnel for commercial (i.e,, advertising) shoots, and film and recording studio users may now be considered as Business Visitors.
The LMIA exemptions described above take affect on February 17, 2016. The expansion to the Business Visitor category is effective immediately.
Significant Benefit Guidelines
As noted above, starting on February 17, 2016, an LMIA exemption will exist for prospective foreign workers whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities to Canadians and permanent residents.
The IRCC website notes that such positions are typically unionized and pay above the provincial median wage for all occupations.
Applicants are advised to provide both a letter of support from the production as well as a letter from the relevant union or guild.
Work permits will be valid for the duration of the intended employment,Read more ›
Regulation 205(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a work permit may be issued to a foreign national without the employer needing to first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment if the the employment of the foreign national in Canada would create or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in other countries.
Some obvious examples of where such work permits are frequently issued include in sports leagues such as the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, as well as the Canada World Youth exchange. International Experience Canada, including its most popular program – the Working Holiday Program – also falls under this Labour Market Impact Assessment, as do reciprocal employment arrangements in academia.
What is less commonly known, however, is that multinational corporations can also take advantage of this Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption. To qualify, the employer must demonstrate that reciprocity exists. This can be demonstrated by a work contract (if it provides evidence of reciprocity), a Human Resources Global Mobility Policy that demonstrates a balance of bilateral flow, and/or other documents that show that Canadian foreign workers benefit from the ability to travel abroad within the company.
As the CIC website states, it is not necessary that there be exact reciprocity, but the general order of magnitude of exchanges should be reasonably similar on an annual basis.
When the entities involved have no history of conducting reciprocal exchanges with Canada, CIC will initially limit work permits to a small number of individuals and inform employers that subsequent work permits be issued only when reciprocity has been demonstrated. Officers can consider not only the number of individuals working in Canada and abroad, but also employment duration and job level.Read more ›