Posted on - Feb 09, 2016

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

The process for bringing film and television production workers to Canada will become much easier as of February 17, 2016 with the elimination of the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).  A new directive from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) brings these workers under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and acknowledges that facilitating entry for film and television workers serves to support economic interests in Canada for existing public investment in such productions as well as continues to attract high value TV and film production projects to Canada.  This new directive is a welcome recognition of the value that film and television production brings to the Canadian economy and encourages the speedy facilitation of work permits for foreign workers on these projects.

Prior to the announcement, it was necessary for employers to firstly submit an LMIA application which was an extensive application process. Upon receipt of the LMIA approval, individual applicants also need to apply for and obtain a work permit.  With these new provisions, the LMIA application, which was the first step of the process, is no longer necessary and film and television personnel will only need to apply for a work permit whether at a visa office abroad or a Canadian port of entry. 

To obtain a work permit, a film and television worker will need to apply either at a Canadian visa office (if the applicant requires a visa to come to Canada) or at a port of entry (if the applicant comes from a country exempt from the need for a visa). In support of the work permit application, an applicant will need to present such information as a letter of support from the production itself, as well as a letter of support from the relevant union or guild.  Employers will also need to provide an Offer of Employment, which is a specific IRCC online application form, and pay an Employer Compliance fee in addition to the fee for the work permit itself. 

Film and television productions continue to be major sources of job creation and employment throughout Canada.  Recent news reports tell of B.C. filming studios being filled to capacity for months to come. This new provision will enhance the ability of these productions to bring the foreign workers that they require in a timely manner while liaising with unions and guilds to ensure that Canadian film workers are protected.  The expansion of the of the International Mobility Program is a positive development for Canada’s entertainment sector.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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