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Canadian Significant Benefit Work Permits: How to Obtain One

Canadian Significant Benefit Work Permits

Officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are tasked with considering the potential impact on the Canadian labor market before granting work permits to foreign workers. Typically, this involves a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, an exemption for “significant benefit” can bypass the LMIA requirement. This exemption comes into play when the advantages of granting a work permit significantly outweigh the potential negative effects of not admitting a foreign worker or delaying their entry to Canada. In such cases, even without an LMIA, other factors can allow a foreign worker to obtain a Significant Benefit Work Permit (SBWP) — an LMIA-exempt work permit with a faster processing time.

It’s important to note that SBWPs must be applied for by the employer, not the individual foreign worker.

Defining Significant Benefit

To secure a SBWP in Canada, an applicant must demonstrate that their employment will substantially benefit Canada economically, socially, or culturally. The definition of “significant benefit” in this context is broad and involves evaluating how the international worker’s engagement will contribute to Canada’s economic stability.

These contributions can include creating employment opportunities, fostering the growth of an industry or sector in a remote area or specific region, promoting export markets for Canadian goods and services, and aiding in the progress of a Canadian industry, such as through technological advancements or service innovation. Additionally, the work of a foreign national could contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of Canadians, promote tolerance, increase cultural understanding, and create opportunities for interaction among individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Specific criteria exist for different types of significant benefits that foreign workers can provide. Applicants must also demonstrate a distinguished record in their specific field, which may include relevant academic qualifications, significant work experience, international or national awards, membership in organizations that demand excellence, and more.

Eligibility for a Significant Benefit Work Permit

When assessing a SBWP application, immigration officers consider several factors, including whether the application meets requirements for an LMIA, the duties of the foreign worker’s position and how they align with significant benefit criteria, job requirements, minimum education qualifications, additional training required, and provincial/federal certifications, licensing, or registrations.

Those eligible for a significant benefit work permit include:

  • Intra-Company Transferees: Foreign nationals working for a multinational company joining its Canadian parent, subsidiary, or branch in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge role.
  • Television and Film Production Workers: Workers in the TV and film industry with essential roles in a production.
  • Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Workers: Individuals starting a business in Canada or pursuing self-employment, capable of demonstrating their activities would result in significant economic, social, or cultural benefits for Canada.
  • Emergency Repair Personnel: Workers needed for urgent repairs to industrial or commercial equipment to prevent employment disruption in Canada.
    Certain professionals may be exempt from needing an LMIA under unique circumstances and may further be eligible for a SBWP.

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