Top occupations for LMIA-exempt work permit holders in Canada in 2021

The International Mobility Program helped international employees find jobs in Canada last year, according to IRCC data.

The bulk of Canada’s overseas employees are covered by the International Mobility Program (IMP). Under the IMP alone, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) awarded about 315,000 work permits in 2021. Around 104,000 work licenses were awarded under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment is the main distinction between the two programmes (LMIA). Employers must file LMIAs under the TFWP to demonstrate that there are no Canadian employees available to undertake the job and that hiring a foreign worker is essential.

Because the goal of IMP work permits is to assist Canadian interests, they do not require LMIAs. Significant benefit and reciprocal employment are the two most typical types of IMP work permits. A foreign national whose labour will assist Canadians socially, culturally, or economically is defined as “substantial benefit” by the government. Reciprocal employment occurs when Canada and another nation reach an agreement that allows for the cross-border exchange of workers. Foreign employees can have similar options in Canada that Canadian workers can have overseas, hence the labour market impact is deemed neutral.

The IRCC distributes data on temporary and permanent residents on a monthly basis. These recently revealed statistics indicate where IMP holders were most likely to be found last year, broken down by occupation and province. The numbers are rounded to the nearest five-digit multiple.

The majority of IMP work permits were accepted in Ontario.

Over 135,000 IMP work permits were issued in Ontario in 2021, more than double the amount issued in British Columbia, which came in second with over 55,000 work permits.

The top five locations where IMP work permits were awarded were Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Province issued IMP work permits in 2021.

ProvinceTotal IMP work permits issued
Not Stated27,420
Nova Scotia7,605
New Brunswick4,400
Prince Edward Island2,100
Newfoundland and Labrador1,815
Northwest Territories175

Top Professions in each of the top five provinces

Working experience that falls under one of these NOC codes does not automatically qualify you for an LMIA-exempt work visa. You must be qualified for a TFWP or IMP stream in order to obtain any work permit in Canada. These are only a few of the most popular NOCs that will be stated on an LMIA-exempt work visa in 2021.


On Ontario IMP work permits, tech jobs were the most frequent. Information systems analysts and consultants, software engineers and designers, and computer programmers and interactive media developers ranked first and second, respectively.

Specialist physicians were the fourth most prevalent IMP work permit holders, followed by university professors and lecturers.

By occupation, the top 5 Ontario IMP work permits

No Objection Certificate  Occupation# of IMP work permits granted in 2021
2174 – Developers of interactive media and computer programmers2,810
2171 – Consultants and analysts for information systems2,235
2173 – Software engineers and designers2,035
4011 – University professors and lecturers1,355
3111 – Specialist physicians1,350


The most prevalent IMP work permit holders in B.C. last year were software developers and designers. Graphic designers and illustrators, university professors and lecturers, and information systems analysts and consultants finished in second and third, respectively.

Top 5 B.C. IMP work permits by occupation

NOC – Occupation# of IMP work permits granted in 2021
2173 – Software engineers and designers1,395
5135 – Actors and comedians785
5241 – Graphic designers and illustrators680
4011 – University professors and lecturers670
2171 – Consultants and analysts in information systems360


Last year, graphic designers and illustrators were the most common LMIA-exempt workers in Quebec. Professors and lecturers at universities came in second, followed by teaching and research assistants at post-secondary institutions. The fourth and fifth places were filled by specialist physicians and producers, directors, choreographers, and similar jobs.

By occupation, the top 5 Quebec IMP work permits

No Objection Certificate  Occupation# of IMP work permits granted in 2021
5241 – Graphic designers and illustrators1,295
4011 – University professors and lecturers1,070
4012 – Teaching and research assistants at the post-secondary level515
3111 – Specialist physicians450
5131 Producers, directors, choreographers, and others who work in the entertainment industry250


The most prevalent IMP work permit holders in Alberta were university professors and lecturers. Cooks, food service supervisors, post-secondary teaching and research assistants, and transport truck drivers all made the top five.

By occupation, the top 5 Alberta IMP work permits

No Objection Certificate  Occupation# of IMP work permits granted in 2021
4011 – University professors and lecturers530
6311 – Food service supervisors325
4012 – Post secondary teaching and research assistants260
6322 – Cooks240
7511 – Transport truck drivers150


The most IMP work permits were held by industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers, and associated employees in Manitoba. The following roles were filled by transport truck drivers, athletes, cooks, agriculture service contractors, farm managers, and specialist livestock employees.

By occupation, the top five Manitoba IMP work permits

No Objection Certificate  Occupation# of IMP work permits granted in 2021
9462 -Butchers and meat cutters in the industrial sector, as well as poultry preparers and other related occupations360
7511 – Transport truck drivers305
5251 – Athletes135
6322 – Cooks120
8252 – Contractors who provide agricultural services, farm managers, and specialist livestock personnel100

How to receive a work permit that is exempt from the LMIA?

There are several job licenses that are exempt from the LMIA. The first step in getting one is to study about your possibilities and figure out exactly what you want.

You may be eligible for an open work permit, which allows you to work for any Canadian company in any Canadian province. The IMP covers all open work permits. International student graduates, adolescents from specific countries having reciprocal agreements with Canada, spouses of Canadians, and temporary residents all have open work permit choices.

Certain professionals, investors, and traders from countries with whom Canada has free trade agreements are also exempt from the LMIA.

Exemptions are also available to qualifying businesses, French-speaking skilled employees, and individuals in vocations that are thought to benefit the country.

(Source CIC News)

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