LMIA Exempt Work Permit in Canada

Work permit (LMIA-exempt)

While the ‘default’ basis for a work permit is an LMIA, there are numerous exceptions where IRCC has determined there are significant benefits to Canada in bypassing the LMIA process.

There are some international agreements (e.g FTA, CETA, IEC, etc)  between Canada and other foreign countries whose foreign nationals are not required to get an LMIA before applying for a work permit.  Apart from international agreements, there are various other categories like airline personnel, Television and film production workers, spouses of students, refugee claimants, vulnerable workers, provincial nominee applicants, etc, that can apply directly for a work permit without the need of an LMIA. Each exemption is given a “category code” or “exemption code”. There are currently over 40 exemption codes available for which no LMIA is required.


IRCC maintains an up-to-date list in its processing manual for officers, which can be found here:


If your situation doesn’t fall under the LMIA-exemption category, you need to get an LMIA from an employer if want to apply for a work permit.

Contact Us, if you want to discuss your situation with us and see what are options available to you in applying for a work permit.