If an individual in the entertainment industry cannot receive consideration as a business visitor, and is not eligible for a work permit exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), there is little alternative to applying for a LMIA-based work permit.
The requirement for a LMIA can be problematic, as very often there are Canadians available and willing to do a given job, in which case it would be difficult to have the LMIA approved. However, even this option is facilitated for many individuals working in the entertainment industry. This is because they may be exempt from the advertising requirements that a LMIA usually entails, thus eliminating what is typically the most problematic aspect of the LMIA application. Not having to demonstrate sufficient recruitment efforts renders the process significantly more expeditious and increases the likelihood of LMIA approval. In such a case, the most onerous requirement associated with the LMIA is the need for the employer to pay the $1,000 processing fee.
The problem with this, and any sort of facilitated work permit option, rests with the discretion of the individual reviewing the application. Very often Immigration officers are not intimately familiar with exceptional work permits and the criteria for eligibility. As a result, when assessing such work permit applications, it is not unlikely for an immigration officer to erroneously believe that the applicant is not eligible for the work permit because, in the opinion of the officer, the applicant has not complied with the requirements usually associated with a work permit application. For this reason, and in order to avoid a refusal, it is prudent to check with an experienced immigration attorney before applying for such a work permit.