For years, there were no fast and affordable immigration options for companies to send their foreign employees into Canada in order to perform emergency repairs on equipment located at clients sites if that equipment was no longer under warranty or an after-sales service agreement. Instead, these personnel were required to undergo the lengthy and expensive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process in order to secure work authorization.
However, Canadian Immigration and Citizenship (CIC) recently announced that foreign personnel sent on short-term assignment to provide emergency repairs to commercial equipment or machinery at a Canadian client site will be granted exemption to the LMIA requirement regardless of whether the equipment remains under warranty or an after-sales service agreement. There are some criteria that the employee must meet in order to qualify for the LMIA-exemption:
• The emergency repair requires specific knowledge;
• The manufacturing company has no business presence in Canada; and
• Canadian jobs would be affected negatively should the repairs not be made in a timely manner.
Should the employee and his/her assignment meet all of the above criteria, they will be eligible to bypass the LMIA process and apply for their work permit either at the Canadian Port-of-Entry (for visa waiver nationals) or at a designated Canadian Visa Application Center abroad (for visa nationals). These short-term work permits will be issued with a maximum validity of 30-days and will be renewable only under exceptional circumstances.
Please note, the LMIA exemption will only be granted in the case of emergency repairs: foreign employees sent on assignment to perform routine maintenance on commercial equipment or machinery that is no longer covered by a warranty or after-sales service agreement will still be required to undergo the full LMIA process.
This extension of the LMIA exemption for emergency repair technicians is seen as a very positive change for companies who sell and provide technical support to Canadian clients.
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