Operational Bulletin 580 – June 23, 2014

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations amended to remove work permit requirement for certain foreign artists entering Canada to perform in bars and restaurants


This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides information to officers processing work permit applications in relation to the June 20, 2014, regulatory change that exempts foreign artists entering Canada to perform in a bar, restaurant or similar establishment from the requirement to obtain a work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and consequently from the requirement of employers to seek a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada.

Former provisions

Foreign performing artists hired to perform at a venue whose primary purpose is to sell food and drinks, like bars and restaurants, required a LMIA before applying for a work permit.

New provisions – Amendment to 186(g) (ii) of the IRPR

R186(g) (ii) has been amended to remove reference to “…nor performing in a bar, restaurant or similar establishment”.

The IRPR amendment achieves the following objectives: 

  • provides consistent treatment to foreign artists, regardless of venue type; 
  • simplifies the administration of the current LMIA process.


The regulatory amendment provides consistent treatment toward foreign artists performing in Canada for time-limited engagements, irrespective of venue.

Temporary Foreign Worker Guidelines (FW1) and Processing Instructions

Instructions and guidance for officers, i.e. FW1, Section 5.8 and Appendix A, will be updated with these new guidelines and requirements.

Specifically, any foreign-based musical and theatrical individuals and groups and their essential crew – including performing artists, i.e. bands and musicians, performing at venues whose primary purpose is to sell food and drinks for time-limited engagements as per current guidelines, will be eligible for a work permit exemption.

A work permit and LMIA will still be required for foreign performing artists who are:

  • on the production of film, television or radio broadcast;
  • not performing in a time-limited engagement; or
  • in an “employment relationship” (for example, a permanent piano bar employee) with the organization or business in Canada that is contracting for their services.

WP applications received with a positive and valid LMIA attached

  • CIC Officers (In Canada and overseas):
    • before June 20, 2014, will be processed as per former regulation;
    • on or after June 20, 2014, and where initial assessment confirms eligibility for the WP exemption,  officers should follow existing procedures for when an application is received in the incorrect category. Please note that every effort should be made to facilitate these clients during this transition period. The intent of the Regulation change is to assist this group.
  • Port of Entry (POE) – effective immediately, when processing performing artists entering Canada, as per amended R186(g) (ii), Border Services Officers will no longer need to assess the venue when determining if a WP is required.

Page details

Date modified: