Attention Oscar Nominees, Past Winners & All Others in the Arts and Entertainment Fields!


Attention Oscar Nominees, Past Winners & All Others in the Arts and Entertainment Fields!
Canada is known as a popular destination for filmmakers and performing artists. Canada’s immigration law permits many entertainers and those working in the entertainment industry to work in Canada without a work permit or obtain a work permit relatively easily by exempting them from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Maybe you have been to Canada before or perhaps you have an upcoming project! If so, check out our Canadian immigration primer!


Exemption from Work Permit
In some situations, a foreign national may work without a work permit. Those relevant to the entertainment industry are:
  • Film producers employed by foreign companies for commercial shoots; and essential personnel (e.g., actors, directors, technicians) entering Canada for short durations (typically no longer than two weeks) for a foreign -financed commercial (i.e., advertising) shoot (for television, magazines or other media).
  • Performing artists appearing alone or in a group in an artistic performance – other than a performance that is primarily for a film production or a television or radio broadcast – or as a member of the staff of such a performing artist or group who is integral to the artistic performance, if (i) they are part of a foreign production or group, or are a guest artist in a Canadian production or group, performing a time-limited engagement, and (ii) they are not in an employment relationship with the organization or business in Canada that is contracting for their services.
  • Judges, referees or similar officials participating in an international cultural or artistic event.
There is also a short-term work permit exemption allowing for entry for 15 calendar days once every six months or 30 calendar days once every 12 months. This is available to those working in highly-skilled occupations. For example, producers, directors, choreographers and film editors will qualify.


Work Permit Options
  • Significant Benefit for TV and film productions – targets foreign nationals in the television and film industry whose position or occupation is essential to a TV or film production.
  • Significant Benefit – General Guidelines – applies to any foreign national whose employment in Canada would create significant social, cultural or economic benefit.
  • Reciprocal Employment – Performing Arts – targets key creative personnel and talent associated with Canadian, non-profit performing arts companies and organizations in the orchestral music, opera, live theatre and dance disciplines.
  • Reciprocal Employment – General Guidelines – permits foreign nationals to obtain a work permit if similar reciprocal opportunities abroad exist for Canadians and if the foreign national’s employment would result in a neutral labour market impact. For example, a Canadian performing arts organization that has a cultural exchange program with a foreign performing arts organization may be able to use this exemption code if it can show that Canadian members are currently participating in the exchange program abroad.
For individuals who do not fit into any of the above categories, a work permit based on a Labour Market Impact Assessment is required. Typically, this entails four weeks of advertising to attract Canadians; however, there are certain situations in which the employer would be exempt from the advertising requirement.

So, after you eat your popcorn and stay up too late, contact us to talk about your next opportunity in Canada! We will make sure it is not an epic saga!
Corporate Immigration Law Firm – Caruso Guberman Appleby is a Top Ten Immigration Boutique Law Firm as recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine, with many of our lawyers recognized in Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration year after year. We can be reached at 416-368-1111 or for all your immigration law needs.