LMIA Processing for Select Foreign Workers in Canada

09 Mar 2023

Discover IRCC’s 10-business day service standard for faster hiring of temporary foreign workers through streamlined LMIA processing, a crucial aspect of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is operated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help Canadian employers overcome labor and skills shortages within their organizations when no qualified or available Canadian citizens or permanent residents are available for the position. The TFWP allows employers to hire foreign talent by issuing them work permits, subject to certain conditions.

Employers hiring foreign talent through the TFWP must complete a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to ensure that the foreign worker’s employment will have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labor market. However, in December 2022, the processing time for LMIA applications across the seven streams included in the TFWP exceeded 21 business days on average. These seven streams encompass:

  • Permanent Residence stream
  • Global Talent Stream
  • Agricultural stream 
  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  • High-wage stream
  • Low-wage stream 
  • In-home caregivers stream

Despite the usual program requirements for assessing TFWP applications, the processing time of an LMIA can be expedited to 10 business days in the following three circumstances. 

Remember that employers falling under these categories must still meet all program requirements.

1) LMIAs for Foreign Workers Earning Top 10% Salaries or Above

Suppose an employer pays a foreign worker a salary that is equal to or higher than the top 10% of wages earned by Canadian citizens or permanent residents (PRs) in the province or territory where they will work. In that case, they may be eligible for the expedited 10-business-day service standard. Foreign workers in this category are regarded as highly skilled individuals possessing specialized knowledge that is difficult to source from within the Canadian workforce.

Here are the hourly wages that represent the median, as of April 30th, 2022, in each province and territory of Canada, based on 2019 wage data:


2) LMIAs for Workers in High-Paying Skilled Trade Jobs

Companies recruiting overseas employees for skilled trade roles crucial to infrastructure development and natural resource extraction may be eligible for the expedited 10-business-day service standard. In order to qualify, the job must provide a salary equal to or greater than the median wage of the province or territory where it is situated. The following skilled trades are deemed essential for Canadian economic growth.

Here you can see all skilled trade occupations that are eligible under this group:

3) LMIAs for workers in occupations with a short duration

Employers seeking to hire foreign workers for a short duration of at most 120 calendar days can benefit from the expedited 10 business day service standard. To qualify, the wage offered to the foreign worker must meet or exceed the provincial or territorial median in the region where the job is located, just like in the second category mentioned above.

This category includes occupations such as repair technicians, warranty specialists, and manufacturing equipment operators.

Final Thoughts

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