Graphic designers now among film and TV workers who can get expedited work permits

Michael Schwartz
Published: October 11, 2021

If you are a graphic designer working on a live-action film or TV show, coming to Canada just became easier.

Canada recognizes the value film and TV production contributes to the national economy. IRCC is making it simpler for graphic designers who work on films or TV to come to Canada. As of September 10, 2021, these people no longer need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to get a Canadian work permit. This policy will last until March 9, 2022.

Get help with Canadian work permits

If you are a graphic designer wishing to come to Canada, or an employer wishing to hire under this policy, you need to apply on or after September 10, 2021. However, you can still benefit if you already came on a work permit but apply to renew it on or after September 10.

This work permit might be for you if you intend to work on at least one named live-action television or film productions being filmed in whole or in part in Canada. This can be at the pre-production, production or post-production stage.

You will also have to provide a letter from the employer, or an authorized representative of the employer. This letter must show:

  • details of the named live-action television or film productions;
  • that your presence and work are essential to the television or film production;
  • the wage you will be paid and that it is both the same as that set out in the copy of the offer of employment, and it is either equal to or more than the median wage for the graphic designer occupation in the specific community, as specified on Canada's Job Bank site;
  • that the television or film production satisfies the criteria for a federal, provincial or territorial tax credit for television or film production. If not, they can also be recipients of federal, provincial or territorial funding for television or film production.

In general, if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you need a permit to work in Canada. If you are on a work permit, then your employer likely needs an LMIA. The LMIA is a process in which your employer shows that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively affect work opportunities for Canadians. This means, being exempt from an LMIA requirement is a major asset to an employer or employee.

A major LMIA-exempt work permit path is the Significant Benefit path. If the foreign national or employer can show that hiring the foreigner will provide social, economic, or cultural benefits or opportunities to Canadians, a foreigner can take the job without needing an LMIA.

Canada is a popular place in which to make films. Beautiful scenery, a favourable exchange rate, and modern infrastructure all play a role. In turn, filmmaking provides a tremendous boost to the Canadian economy. In 2019, the film production industry’s contribution to Canada’s GDP was estimated at well over $12 billion.

The new policy removing the LMIA requirement for graphic designers in this field is designed to speed the industry’s recovery, following the shocks of COVID-19. On or after March 2022, the government may extend this policy, make it permanent, or cancel it. In the meantime, though, it eases the path for workers and employers to “get the show on the road.”

Get help with Canadian work permits

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