The Government of Canada revised temporary foreign workers (TFW) related regulations and LMIA requirement throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers do not need to provide LMIA under the International Mobility Program (IMP) to hire foreign workers on a temporary work permit. That said, the hiring must serve Canada’s broader economic and cultural interests, which can include things like youth exchange agreements, international graduates who studied in Canada, or international agreements like Canada–European Union Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CETA).
The IMP has an LMIA exemption, which is also known as the Significant Benefit category. The exemption lets entrepreneurs apply for a work permit in Canada that does not require an LMIA. However, the term Significant Benefit correlates significant economic, social, or cultural benefits. The social and cultural benefits are easier to justify based on the proposed business or work. Then, it leaves the main focus of the program around the economic benefits. According to the Government of Canada, indicators of Significant Benefit may include:
- General economic benefits such as
- job creation,
- development in a regional or remote setting, or
- expansion of export markets for Canadian products and services
- Advancement of the Canadian industry such as
- technological development,
- product or service innovation, or
- differentiation or opportunities for improving the skills of Canadians
Foreign applicants must demonstrate ownership or plan to own minimum of 50% of the Canadian business. Additionally, they must provide a thorough business plan to delineate their business, marketability, competitive advantage, hiring plan, growth plan and solid financial projection to be eligible for IMP pathway.
The IMP LMIA exemption allows business owners and entrepreneurs to work on their businesses without going through exhaustive LMIA process. The entrepreneur work permit creates a clear path forward for those who can demonstrate a sustainable business plan of how their business will benefit Canada and Canadians.