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Section 20(5)(e)(i) of the Immigration Act provides that an individual whose proposed activities "will create or maintain significant employment, benefits or opportunities for Canadians or permanent residents" is only required to obtain an employment authorization; he or she is not required to obtain a job validation Immigration policymakers have created specific exemption "codes" under this general exemption. The most frequently-used specific exemption codes are described further below.

Where to Apply:

Applicants may apply for a Section 20(5)(e)(i) employment authorization at a Port of Entry (with the exception of Code E01, Code E03 and Code E05 applicants), provided that they do not require a visitor visa to visit Canada. Applicants who do require a visitor visa to visit Canada must apply at a visa office abroad. Applicants may apply for an employment authorization from within Canada if they are already in Canada as visitors.


Section 20(5)(e)(i) employment authorizations may be issued for an initial period of up to three years, although one year is the norm. Absent extraordinary conditions, the total duration of Section 20(5)(e)(i) employment authorizations will be limited to five years.

Code E01: Self-Employed Persons Providing Employment-Related Benefits

This category is open to individuals who will be in Canada temporarily to establish a business for which Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents will be recruited or trained. To qualify under this category, applicants are required to demonstrate successful business/entrepreneurial experience as well as substantial net worth. Applicants will also be required to prepare a business plan detailing their proposed business activities in Canada, including the number of Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents that they anticipate will be recruited or trained. An exploratory visit to Canada prior to applying under this category will lend credibility to the subsequent application.

Code E03: Entrepreneurial Applicants/Pre-Landing Entry

This category is open to individuals who have already applied - or are seriously contemplating applying - for permanent resident status as Entrepreneurs, and who will be in Canada temporarily to establish a business which will ultimately form the basis of their permanent residence application. Applicants who would typically qualify as Entrepreneurs may qualify under this category, provided that they can satisfy a rather demanding test: there must be reasons of "national interest" which justify their admission to Canada on the basis of a Minister's Permit. The "national interest" test is difficult to satisfy, as the applicant will be required to demonstrate compelling and urgent reasons to warrant admission. For this reason, Code E03 Minister's Permits are issued sparingly, and individuals should consider applying under the Code E01 category (if they so qualify), rather than under Code E03. In any event, individuals should consult with a qualified attorney before proceeding with a Code E01 or Code E03 application.

Code E05: Self-Employed Persons Providing Non-Employment-Related Benefits

This category is open to individuals who will be in Canada temporarily to conduct self-employed activities which will benefit Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents for reasons other than those related to employment. Among other things, this category covers expert witnesses who enter Canada to conduct surveys and analyses which may ultimately be used as testimony in court proceedings. Other individuals covered by this category include actors, directors and other entertainment-related applicants, and self-employed artists and business people whose activities will bring significant benefits to Canada'€™s arts, culture, or economy.

Code E06: Foreign Students

This category is open to full-time students at a post-secondary institution who obtain on-campus employment by the faculty, student organization, private contractor providing services to the institution, or the institution itself.

Code E07: Spouses of Foreign Students

This category is open to individuals whose spouses:

  • hold student authorizations; and
  • are either studying in Canada on a full-time basis or have valid employment authorizations to work at a job related to their course of study.

These individuals will be issued "open" employment authorizations, meaning that they do not require an offer of employment in order to receive their employment authorization.

Code E08: Post-Graduation Employment

Under this category, foreign students are entitled to work for a period of one year following successful completion of their studies in a position that is related to their field of studies. The employment must commence within 90 days of the Notice of Graduation.

The issuing institution must be a university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.

Code E10: After-Sales Service

This category is open to individuals seeking entry to repair, service or supervise the installation of specialized equipment purchased outside of Canada. It also covers foreign workers who provide familiarization of services to prospective users or maintenance staff after the installation of specialized equipment purchased outside of Canada. The service must be required as part of the original sales agreement, lease agreement or warranty/service contract.

Code E15: Senior Executive and Managerial Intra-Company Transferees

This category is open to senior executives and managers who are being transferred temporarily to a Canadian branch, subsidiary or parent of their foreign company. The Canadian enterprise must be a permanent and ongoing operation, although start-ups will qualify so long as the long-term prospects of the start-up are demonstrable. Applicants must plan, organize, direct or control the business; middle-managers will not qualify.

Comparison with NAFTA/CCFTA and GATS: Intra-Company Transferees under GATS require that the Canadian enterprise be in a particular service sector. By contrast, the Code E15 category does not require that the Canadian enterprise be in a particular service sector.

Furthermore, Intra-Company Transferees under NAFTA/CCFTA are required to have been employed by the transferring employer for one year during the previous three years and Intra-Company Transferees under GATS are required to have been employed by the transferring employer for one year immediately prior to the application. The E15 category has recently been amended with this same requirement.

Code E19: Special Benefit for Canada

This category is open to individuals who do not fall within the parameters of the other "E" Codes, but whose entry to Canada clearly represents significant benefits to Canada. These benefits may or may not relate to employment. These individuals will provide "significant benefits" to Canada where their employment will result in:

  • The transfer of critical knowledge to Canadian workers;
  • Increasing the international competitiveness of Canadian firms;
  • Substantial benefits to a larger community through enhanced community quality of life, contributions to health, education, environment, etc.;
  • Increased opportunities for the export of Canadian goods or services;
  • Canadian companies staying in the forefront of the industry or research and development;
  • The promotion of Canadian culture, talents, skills;
  • The development of innovative and patentable products and methods.

It is not enough for the "significant benefits" to be in favour of the Canadian employer alone.

While the realm of possibilities envisioned by this category is theoretically infinite, the following work situations have been identified as examples that fall within this category (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Booth operators participating in an exhibition at a Canadian event (or a foreign event held in Canada) who will be selling to the general public;
  • Canadian Football League players and coaches;
  • American media crews on tourism promotional tours, the purpose of which is to produce tourism promotional material on Canada; and
  • Non-North American media crews producing travelogues, documentaries or tourist promotional material on Canada for non-North American audiences.

Code E20: Religious Volunteers Without Remuneration

This category is open to individuals carrying out non-religious duties on behalf of Canadian religious organizations without remuneration.

Code E25: Charitable Workers Without Remuneration

This category is open to individuals employed without remuneration by Canadian charitable organizations.

Code E30: Foreign Scholarship Students

This category is open to foreign students who have been accepted by a Canadian university or college on a scholarship basis where, in the opinion of the Director of Immigration and the officials of the institution, it would be in the best interests of all concerned to permit the student to take off-campus employment arranged by the institution.

Code E35: International Student and Young Workers Employment

There are a number of exchange programs that are contemplated by this exemption.

Code E40: Individuals Engaged by Educational Institutions

This category is open to eminent scholars, guest lecturers, exchange professors/teachers and visiting professors. The spouses and children of these individuals are also entitled to work in Canada.

Code E45: Academic Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows

This category is open to individuals who will work in their field or in a related field of study at a Canadian academic institution; they need not be students.

Code E95: Amateur Athletes and Amateur Coaches

This category is open to athletes and coaches who earn less than 50% of their income from sports activities.

Code E99: Reciprocal Employment Opportunities for Canadians

This category is open to individuals who do not fit within any of the other "E" codes, but whose employment in Canada will result in reciprocal employment opportunities for Canadians abroad. A hypothetical example could be the case of a Canadian employer who succeeds in obtaining a temporary work permit for an employee stationed in a foreign country. Under this category, the Canadian employer might be able to obtain a reciprocal arrangement to permit an individual from the same foreign country to work for the employer in Canada.