LMIA application is an official process of hiring a foreign worker for a Canadian organization. The foreign worker must first receive government approval before the hiring process takes place which is known as Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
To receive approval, an applicant must receive a positive LMIA. After reviewing the application the government should determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labor market. Moreover, they ensure that no qualified Canadian was passed up in favor of the foreign worker. And the foreign worker will be paid and get benefits that according to federal and provincial standards.
In general, all Canadian employers must provide proof that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers, which is a process of LMIA application. Also, employers might be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.
LMIA application process
The procedure is named Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA application), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
Depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage” the LMIA application process is different.
Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above are considered high-wage. Depending on whether a prospective employee is classified as high-wage or low-wage, certain specific provisions apply.
All Canadian employers must provide evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers. Also, employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.
LMIA application must be submitted by an employer aiming to hire a foreign worker, and approved from the Canadian Government before the hiring can take place.
LMIA application requirements
In a limited number of situations Canadian immigration officials may issue Work Permits without the LMIA application requirement, as follows:
- Under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
- Due to the significant economic, social or cultural benefits the work activity will bring to Canadians;
- As part of reciprocal agreements Canada and its provinces/territories have entered into with other countries, such as youth and teacher exchange programs;
- So that international student studying in Canada can fulfil academic requirements, known as co-op placements;
- To allow the spouses/common-law partners of Work Permit and certain Study Permit holders in Canada to work in Canada;
- Because the nature of the work is charitable or religious;
- In recognition that certain persons in Canada for reasons other than the above-mentioned, such as the making of a refugee claim, need to support themselves.
Requirements for employers
LMIA application fees.
Employers aiming to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of 1,000 CAD for each request for an LMIA application. There is also be an additional $100 privilege fee on employers charged by Employment and Social Development Canada. English and French are the only languages that can be determined as job requirements, both for LMIAs and for job vacancy advertisements, unless the employer can prove that another language is otherwise required for the position.
Additionally, employers must advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before applying for an LMIA. Towards this end, employers are required to prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods in addition to having posted an advertisement on the Canada Job Bank. Employers must focus advertising efforts on groups of Canadians who are under-represented, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities.
Employers are also required to submit a transition plan to ESDC, along with the LMIA application, for high-wage positions. This transition plan should indicate how the company plans to reduce its reliance on temporary foreign workers in the future. Proof of investment in skills training or hiring Canadian apprentices are examples of how employers can prove this. Alternatively, employers can demonstrate how they are assisting their high-skilled temporary foreign worker(s) in becoming Canadian permanent residents. If the employer is chosen for an inspection, or if they apply to renew their LMIA application, they will be required to report on the progress of the transition plan that they have submitted.
Employers are required to attest to their awareness that they are prohibited from laying off or cutting the hours of Canadian workers working in the same position(s) as the temporary foreign worker(s) working at the company.
To receive a positive LMIA, the Canadian government officer reviewing the LMIA application must determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labor market.
Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favor of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.
In order to hire high-wage workers employers must submit transition plans along with their LMIA application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. High-wage workers are those earning above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in specified region.
The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the program. This entails that they are using the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labour needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available, ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.
|Province/Territory||Wage ($/hr) as of April 1, 2019
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$22.00|
|Prince Edward Island||$19.49|
Employers aiming to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their LMIA application. However, they must follow a different set of guidelines.
To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), while ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs, the Government of Canada has introduced a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Furthermore, certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA application processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA application are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers.
Employers offering a wage that is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage must:
- pay for round-trip transportation for the temporary foreign worker;
- ensure affordable housing is available;
- pay for private health insurance until workers are eligible for provincial health coverage;
- register the temporary foreign worker with the provincial/territorial workplace safety board; and
- provide an employer-employee contract.
As of April 30, 2015, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program uses the latest Labour Force Survey results for the unemployment rates in regions across Canada. These rates determine which regions are eligible for employers to submit Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) for low-wage/lower skilled occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services sector and the Retail Trade sector. LMIA applications for these sectors will not be processed in economic regions where the unemployment rate is 6 per cent or higher.
How to apply for LMIA
1. Employer applies for Labour Market Impact Assessment, if necessary
Before a Temporary Work Permit can be issued, the Canadian employer who hires a temporary foreign worker will need to apply for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) by ESDC. Accordingly, ESDC grants a positive LMIA if the Canadian employer satisfies it that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to do the job.
2. Employer extends Temporary Job Offer
After obtaining LMIA, the Canadian employer can provide a temporary job offer to the foreign worker. The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed job offer letter to the foreign worker.
3. Foreign Worker applies for Work Permit
With these documents, the foreign worker can apply to ESDC for a Canada Temporary Work Permit. If the Canadian employer that is hiring is in the province of Quebec, the foreign worker may also need to obtain a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to work temporarily in Quebec. There are a number of professions in Quebec that are ‘facilitated’ and eligible for streamlined processing. Employers do not need to perform local requirement efforts as part of their applications to hire temporary foreign workers for these positions in Quebec.
4. Foreign worker gets a Work Permit
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canada Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the foreign worker arrives in Canada.Generally, when an employer receives a negative LMIA it means that Canadian individuals should be positioned in that job offer. Although, in general, you need to have a positive LMIA to hire a foreign national, in some cases LMIA exemption frees employers from the need to obtain one.
LMIA exemption means that there is no need to get a positive LMIA in order to recruit foreign nationals. ECDC along with IRCC regulates these exceptions through the stream called International Mobility Program.
In general, the following types of LMIA exemptions are available through the International Mobility Program:
- International Mobility Program
- International Agreements
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- Canada-Chile FTA / Canada-Peru FTA / Canada-Colombia FTA / Canada-Korea FTA
- Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
- General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
- Canadian Interest Exemptions
- Intra-Company Transferees
LMIA application form
If you need an LMIA assessment you can download the application form EMP5627 here.
Are you a Canadian Employer who needs to obtain Work Permits for new employees?
Canadapt Consulting takes care of the entire Work Permit process for both Canadian employers and foreign workers. Please be informed that Canada Temporary Work Permit is for those foreign workers who plan on working in Canada for a finite period of time. Temporary Work Permit is a stepping stone to Canadian permanent residency. In order to be able to work and live in Canada on a permanent basis, foreign workers must undertake the Canadian immigration process. Once in Canada on a Temporary Work Permit, a foreign worker may qualify for Canadian immigration (permanent Residence) under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), through a Skilled Worker category, or through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs.
Do you have a Canadian job offer and need a Work Permit?
In most of the cases, individuals with a valid job offer from a Canadian employer must secure a Temporary Work Permit to perform work in Canada. A Temporary Work Permit may be issued for a period of time ranging from a few days to a few years. In almost all cases, the process of applying for a Work Permit is twofold. First, the Canadian employer must receive government permission to hire outside of Canada. After this permission has been granted, the designated employee must apply for and receive his or her Work Permit.
The granted Work Permit for the specific job in Canada will be tied to that job only. However, if an employee finds a different employment and does not yet have permanent resident status, he or she must apply for a Work Permit before performing another job in Canada.
There are a several different ways of securing a Work Permit in Canada. Depending on one’s nationality, occupation, and intended work in Canada, there may be possibilities for expediting the process.