Canada Welcomes Foreign TV, Film and Dance Workers
Are you a foreign performing arts professional? If you work in television, film, theatre, or dance, entering Canada may become much easier for you as of February 17, 2016.
Here’s why foreign workers in the performing arts will want to work in Canada in the coming months:
More Jobs Will Be LMIA-Exempt
As CIC News reports, starting on February 17, several jobs in the above-mentioned sectors will be added to the list of jobs eligible for LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)-exempt work permits.
Normally, employers wishing to hire foreign workers have to prove that no Canadian worker is available to fill the position and thus a foreign worker is needed, but soon, some of these performing arts positions will no longer be required to meet this prerequisite.
Instead, if the foreign national’s job is necessary to a television or film production, or if they are part of the “key creative personnel and/or talent” associated with a Canadian non-profit in the performing arts and/or an orchestral music, opera, live theatre and/or dance organization, they may be exempt from the LMIA requirement. These changes are being made because Immigration believes foreign nationals working in the performing arts sector can help Canadians by creating or preserving economic benefits and opportunities.
What Employers and Workers Need to Do
A work permit will still be required. Before submitting a work permit application, the employer must submit an Offer of Employment through the CIC’s online Employer Portal system. Then, a Canadian immigration officer reviewing the case may request additional materials alongside the work permit application: a letter of support from the production and a letter from the relevant union or guild.
Immigration has specific criteria for what each of these letters should include; for example, the letter of support should include “details of the significant economic benefit to Canada of the TV or film production,” and the letter from the union/guild should include “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.”
While a work permit is still required, this exemption represents a significant opportunity for foreign workers who wish to participate in the performing arts in Canada.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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