Foreign nationals who are in the entertainment industry may be eligible for a facilitated route through which they may acquire the right to work legally in Canada.

Such individuals could be eligible for a work permit that is exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. Being exempt from this requirement can make the process much easier and increases the likelihood of the work permit being granted in the shortest possible time frame.

Eligibility for this option hinges on the notion of an individual’s position or occupation being essential to the production, which provides some flexibility with regard to who can receive consideration under this facilitated option. This is because no exhaustive list of “essential personnel” is provided, and its definition is therefore open to interpretation. Because which personnel may be considered essential can vary from one situation to another, this determination is made on a case-by-case basis and depends largely upon what evidence is provided in support of the worker being “essential” to the production.

Therefore, a simple occupation title is by no means conclusive with regard to whether the worker in question constitutes “essential personnel”. It is but one of the factors taken into account. This provides an opportunity to furnish explanations attesting to the importance of a particular worker who, at first glance, might not seem “essential” to a production. Different types of production vary widely and, as a result, the importance of different personnel or crew members varies as well. This category of LMIA-exempt work permit allows for this variation and is taken into consideration when assessing who qualifies for this facilitated option.

Although this route makes working in Canada easier for foreign nationals who qualify, complications and delays can still ensue when dealing with Canadian Immigration authorities. This is because the LMIA is a form of protection that prevents unauthorized encroachment into the Canadian labour market on the part of foreign nationals. With the LMIA requirement taken out of the equation, Canadian workers are therefore no longer afforded this protection and, as a result, LMIA-exempt work permits are scrutinized quite closely. Because of this, if an individual is applying for one of these exceptional, facilitated work permits, it is wise to consult with an experienced Canadian immigration attorney.

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