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Two New Categories of LMIA-Exempt Work Permits Announced for Workers in the Film, Television and Performing Arts Industries

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced two new categories of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permits under section 205 of theImmigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. These new categories apply to temporary foreign workers in the film, television or performing arts industries. Work permits under these categories may be issued for up to two years.

  1. a) Television and Film Production

This category applies to foreign workers in the TV and film industry. The employer must demonstrate that the work is essential to a TV or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities for Canadians and Permanent Residents.

The employer must submit an Offer of Employment prior to applying for the work permit, and pay the Employer Compliance Fee. The work permit application must include the following supporting documents:

  • A letter of support from the production, containing details about the nature of the production, the location of work, and the job duties of the employee. The letter should also cover how the production will be a “significant economic benefit to Canada”. Examples of significant economic benefit include creating jobs for Canadians, budgetary spending in Canada, and satisfying the criteria for a federal, provincial or territorial tax credit or funding
  • A letter from the relevant union or guild, which should specify the details of the production and the applicant. The letter must also contain a statement indicating that the union or guild is of the view that the work to be performed is subject to a collective agreement and that it has no objection to the foreign national working in the specified position for the specified company
  1. b) Dance, Opera, Orchestra, and Live Theatre

This exemption is designed to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals working in the performing arts. It applies to key creative personnel and talent associated with Canadian non-profit performing arts companies and organizations in orchestral music, opera, live theatre and dance. Prior to applying, the employer must submit an Offer of Employment and pay the Employer Compliance Fee. The application must include the following supporting documents:

  • A letter from the applicable Canadian performing arts representative or service organization confirming that reciprocal international opportunities exist for Canadians in that particular discipline. The letter must affirm that reciprocity has existed over the past year, and provide details on how the organization is to affirm reciprocity.
  • Depending on the discipline, multiple organization may be required to affirm reciprocity

Both of these new categories take effect February 17th2016.