Artists aspiring to perform in Canada must follow some important implications for obtaining the legal privilege for carrying out their work. Generally, Canadian law implies that foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada must obtain the relevant work permits. On the other hand, Canadian law also offers certain exceptions in the requirement of work permits for foreign nationals.
Exceptions to the Work Permit Rule for Foreign Performing Artists
Performing artists could bypass the need for work permits to work in Canada if they fall in one of the exceptions. So, what are the cases where you wouldn’t need a work permit as a foreign performing artist in Canada? Here are the three important exceptions to the work permit rule.
Performing artists engaging in international business on Canadian soil without a direct entry into the Canadian labour market qualify business visitors. For example, a film director working on a film based on completely foreign funding could be a business visitor. In addition, an actor working in a cameo appearance would also qualify as an exception to the work permit rule. All the essential participants associated with a foreign-financed commercial shoot, spanning a duration of fewer than two weeks, are also categorized as business visitors.
Limited-time Performance Artists
If the performing artists and their crew come to Canada for a limited time or frequency of work, they don’t need work permits. For example, singers coming to music festivals for a few days or bands performing concerts in a week come under this category. People working for foreign circuses visiting Canada also don’t need work permits. In addition, guest orchestral conductors would also qualify as exceptions to the work permit rule. The essential staff of the performing artists are also exempt from the necessity of a work permit.
The staff of foreign news outlets reporting on Canada also don’t need work permits.
When Do You Need Work Permits?
On the other hand, foreign performing artists would need a work permit and a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in following conditions.
If the job is long-term and involves a regular role at a permanent organization.
If the performing artist, singer, musician or crew comes to Canada for a duration exceeding two weeks.
Remember that actors and crew for film, television and radio shows, other than guest and cameo appearances, would need work permits, albeit without LMIAs.
The LMIA is an essential requirement to apply for a work permit. The employer has to complete the LMIA by showcasing the overall impact of the foreign hire on the Canadian labour market. The LMIA process also requires verification that any Canadian is not able or willing to take on the job.
The basic premise of allocating work permits and LMIAs to foreign performing artists revolves around safeguarding the Canadian labour market. The Canadian government has distinct definitions for foreign workers, contrary to commonly assumed definitions in context of labour markets. According to the government, a foreigner could truly enter the labour market only when they are competing with Canadians for the job and would need work permits. However, any foreigner working on a job that no Canadian would have done does not venture into the Canadian labour market.