International Mobility Program

LMIA-exempt foreign workers fall under what is called the International Mobility Program (IMP). Being exempt from obtaining an LMIA does not mean the individual is exempt from obtaining a work permit. All streams on the LMIA exemption list still require the individual to obtain a work permit to work in Canada legally. The purpose of the IMP is to promote Canada’s broad economic, social, and cultural interests. Since IMP’s policy goals are broader, the Canadian government does not use the LMIA process on foreign nationals who fall under any of IMP’s streams.

International Mobility Program’s LMIA Exempt Streams

Significant Benefits

Visa officers have a degree of flexibility in assessing whether the issuance of a work permit to a foreign national is desirable without the need for an LMIA to be secured. This is known as a significant social or cultural benefit. 

The foreign national’s proposed benefit to Canada through his or her work must be significant, meaning it must be important or notable. Officers typically rely on the testimony of credible, trustworthy, and distinguished experts in the foreign national’s field, as well as any objective evidence provided. The foreign national’s past record is a good indicator of his or her level of achievement.

Other categories that may fall under Significant Benefit are:

  • Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed Persons

  • Intra-Company Transferees

  • Dependents Of Foreign Workers

  • French-Speaking Skilled Workers

  • Academics

  • Provincial LMIA Exemptions   

Reciprocal Employment

Reciprocal employment agreements allow foreign workers to take up employment in Canada when Canadians have similar reciprocal work opportunities abroad.

Categories that fall under Reciprocal Employment are:

  • International Agreements
  • International Exchange Programs 


Charitable & Religious Work

The following workers are considered under the IMP stream:

  • Charitable Workers
  • Religious Workers