Canada’s top jobs for LMIA-exempt work permit holders in 2021

IRCC data show where foreign workers got jobs in Canada under the International Mobility Program last year.
Most of Canada’s foreign workers fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP). In 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued more than 315,000 work permits under the IMP alone. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) accounted for about 104,000 work permits issued.

The major difference between the two programs is the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The TFWP requires employers to complete LMIAs to show there are no workers in Canada available to do the job, and hence the hiring of a foreign worker is necessary.
IMP work permits do not require LMIAs because their purpose is to support Canadian interests. The most common IMP work permits fall under the significant benefit and reciprocal employment categories. The government defines “significant benefit” as a foreign national whose work will benefit Canadians socially, culturally, or economically. Reciprocal employment is when Canada has an agreement with another country, which allows for the exchange of workers across borders. The labour market impact is considered neutral since foreign workers can have similar opportunities in Canada to what Canadian workers can have abroad.

Province Total IMP work permits issued
Ontario 135,585
B.C. 55,315
Quebec 42,910
Not Stated 27,420
Alberta 19,670
Manitoba 11,565
Nova Scotia 7,605
Saskatchewan 6,710
New Brunswick 4,400
Prince Edward Island 2,100
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,815
Yukon 565
Northwest Territories 175
Nunavut 35
Top occupations by top 5 provinces
Ontario
Tech occupations were most commonly listed on Ontario IMP work permits. Computer programmers and interactive media developers took the top spot, followed by information systems analysts and consultants, and software engineers and designers.
University professors and lecturers were the fourth most common IMP work permit holders, followed by specialist physicians.
Top 5 Ontario IMP work permits by occupation
NOC - Occupation # of IMP work permits issued in 2021
2174 - Computer programmers and interactive media developers 2,810
2171 - Information systems analysts and consultants 2,235
2173 - Software engineers and designers 2,035
4011 - University professors and lecturers 1,355
3111 - Specialist physicians 1,350

British Colombia
Software engineers and designers were the most common IMP work permit holders in B.C. last year. Actors and comedians came in second place, followed by graphic designers and illustrators, university professors and lecturers, and information systems analysts and consultants.
Top 5 B.C. IMP work permits by occupation
NOC - Occupation # of IMP work permits issued in 2021
2173 - Software engineers and designers 1,395
5135 - Actors and comedians 785
5241 - Graphic designers and illustrators 680
4011 - University professors and lecturers 670
2171 - Information systems analysts and consultants 360
Quebec
Graphic designers and illustrators were the top LMIA-exempt work permit holders in Quebec last year. University professors and lecturers came in second, followed by post-secondary teaching and research assistants. Specialist physicians and producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations held the fourth and fifth positions.

Top 5 Quebec IMP work permits by occupation
NOC - Occupation # of IMP work permits issued in 2021
5241 - Graphic designers and illustrators 1,295
4011 - University professors and lecturers 1,070
4012 - Post-secondary teaching and research assistants 515
3111 - Specialist physicians 450
5131 - Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations 250
Alberta
University professors and lecturers were the most common IMP work permits holders in Alberta. Food service supervisors, post-secondary teaching and research assistants, cooks, and transport truck drivers also made the top five.
Top 5 Alberta IMP work permits by occupation
NOC - Occupation # of IMP work permits issued in 2021
4011 - University professors and lecturers 530
6311 - Food service supervisors 325
4012 - Post-secondary teaching and research assistants 260
6322 - Cooks 240
7511 - Transport truck drivers 150
Manitoba
In Manitoba, industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers held the most IMP work permits. Transport truck drivers, athletes, cooks, and agriculture service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers took the subsequent positions.

Top 5 Manitoba IMP work permits by occupation
NOC - Occupation # of IMP work permits issued in 2021
9462 - Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers 360
7511 - Transport truck drivers 305
5251 - Athletes 135
6322 - Cooks 120
8252 - Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers 100