Today, you will uncover everything you need to know about getting your Canadian Job Offer supported by LMIA.
We will explain in plain English what an LMIA is, why you need one, and how to get it. You’ll also learn how to leverage the Government of Canada’s LMIA process to get a massive head start on your immigration process.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Jennifer’s Story
- What is an LMIA?
- National Occupational Classification (NOC) and LMIA
- LMIA Supported Job Offers
- Employer’s Legitimacy
- LMIA Exempt Job Offers
We’ll begin with a true story that recently happened to our client.
It makes perfect sense that one person could become a permanent resident in Canada if they have a job offer from a Canadian employer who wishes to hire them.
Jennifer is a Croatian citizen and an experienced marketing specialist who wanted to move permanently to Canada. Jennifer was an educated applicant. She researched the official website of the Canadian immigration department, and knew that under the Federal Skilled Worker program via Express Entry, she wouldn’t score enough points to be invited to apply for advanced processing.
Jennifer was contacted by Harpreet, an HR manager of a Toronto-based marketing firm. She underwent a Skype interview with the marketing manager of this Canadian firm and the company issued her a job offer. Jennifer was very excited; Harpreet was happy, and the firm was excited to hire Jennifer. Harpreet asked Jennifer when she could start.
And then, all parties encountered a problem. Jennifer said that she did not have a work permit and asked Harpreet whether the company could request an LMIA for her to get a work permit. Harpreet did not know how to do it and whether the company was able to obtain such a document.
Does it sound familiar?
If you have a potential employer lined up, but you don’t know where to start to get a positive LMIA, schedule your consultation with a registered Canadian Immigration Consultant right now!
Harpreet started looking for an immigration consulting company and scheduled a consultation with one of the immigration consultants at Green Light Canada.
WHAT IS LMIA?
A Labour Market Impact Assessment is a document an employer may need to apply for if they plan to hire a foreign national to work in Canada. Applying for an LMIA is a process that helps the federal government of Canada determine whether a foreign worker from the global talent stream is needed. The process can take up to several months unless you qualify for an exemption.
When we met Harpreet, he was shocked that a Canadian company was unable to hire Jennifer right away. He said that the company was satisfied with her credentials, background, skills and knowledge and was ready to hire her immediately.
We explained the process of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to Harpreet and that he would need to obtain an LMIA for Jennifer to even be able to request the permit to work in Canada.
We also told Harpreet that obtaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) would make the company’s job offer to Jennifer a Qualified Offer of Employment. Such an offer would add 50 additional points to Jennifer’s CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score under the Express Entry points grid.
Since Jennifer had registered her profile with Express Entry, she scored 451 points. The threshold at the time was 471. This means Jennifer’s application was 20 points too low to receive an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) via the Express Entry system.
A lot of Express Entry candidates encounter the same problem. They are relatively young, educated, possess high English/French abilities and have a few years of skilled work experience, but they still don’t score enough points to move forward with the process.
Often, candidates think that when they’re asked whether they have a job offer from a Canadian employer, they can say yes because someone has offered to hire them when they move to Canada. Then, candidates are disappointed with the fact that their applications are rejected since their job offers were not supported by an LMIA or were not legitimately exempt from one.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into what constitutes a qualifying job offer for your Express Entry profile.
It is essential to point out the fact that such qualifying job offers can give temporary foreign workers from 50 to as much as 200 additional points for their express entry profile.
National Occupational Classification and LMIA
When a Canadian employer offers you a job, you are offered to work in a particular occupation. The majority of existing occupations are categorized by a National Occupational Classification – NOC. NOC is a four-tiered hierarchical structure. The first level contains ten broad occupational categories, the second level is made of 40 major groups; the third level consists of 140 minor groups, and the last level comprises 500-unit groups.
For immigration purposes, the main job groups are:
- Skill Type 0 (zero) – management jobs such as:
- restaurant managers
- mine managers
- shore captains (fishing)
- Skill Level A – professional jobs that usually call for a degree from a university, such as:
- Skill Level B – technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice, such as:
- Skill Level C – intermediate jobs that usually call for high school and/or job-specific training, such as:
- industrial butchers
- long-haul truck drivers
- food and beverage servers
- Skill Level D – labour jobs that usually offer on-the-job training, such as:
- fruit pickers
- cleaning staff
- oil field workers
What Education is Needed to Qualify?
- Skill Level A – Occupations usually require a university education
- Skill Level B – Occupations usually require a college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training
- Skill Level C – Occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training
- Skill Level D – On-the-job training is usually provided for occupations
Canadian immigration programs use the NOC to determine if a job or type of work experience meets their eligibility. Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) considers “skilled” jobs to be those with NOC Skill Type 0, A or B.
Skill Type 0 (zero) consists of jobs that are classified as 0*** and 00**
For example – a restaurant manager is NOC 0631 – 0***. So if you have a job offer from a Canadian restaurant and they wish to hire you as a restaurant manager, you get 50 additional CRS points.
Top management and executive positions are classified as 00**. For example, CEO, vice president, director and more. If you have a job offer for one of these positions, you could get 200 additional CRS points.
Now, not any written job offer will qualify to be considered a job offer for your immigration process under the Express Entry system. Below we will discuss each option in more detail.
It is essential to point out that other non-Express Entry and/or not Federal immigration programs, may have a different set of requirements to grant you additional points or help you qualify to apply for permanent residence under certain provincial programs. The requirements for such offers are different and are discussed in other articles on our website.
So, how do you get 50 or 200 additional CRS points for your Express Entry profile if you found a Canadian employer that is willing to hire you?
LMIA Supported Job Offers
Usually, a hiring employer needs to submit a form to apply for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA, formerly known as LMO – Labour Market Opinion) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) managed by Employment Services Development Canada (Service Canada).
Employment Services Development Canada has a set of four important requirements for every LMIA request. Your application would have to satisfy every single one of them in order to be approved.
- Employer’s Legitimacy
According to Canada’s employment policy, Canadian employers need to prioritize Canadian workforce applicants for their job opening. This means that if the employer applies for an LMIA, they need to prove that they were trying to recruit a Canadian worker to fill labour openings for at least one month beforehand.
To fulfill this requirement, employers need to advertise the position on a few national-scope websites to the general Canadian job market, searching for a Canadian employee. The resources where they advertise need to meet the strict requirements of the TFWP.
The way these advertisements are written and presented to the Canadian workforce needs to meet rigorous requirements as well.
The main reason for the rejection of such LMIA applications is that the advertisement was not done according to TFWP requirements and rules.
If it’s been more than two years since a business has processed a successful LMIA application, they may be required to provide additional documentation to prove that the business is legitimate. According to the IRCC website, businesses will need to show that they:
- have not had any past compliance issues
- can fulfill the terms of the job offer
- are providing a good or service in Canada
- are offering an employment opportunity that is consistent with the needs of their business
The wage the employer is willing to pay for the position determines the stream the application must go through when being processed. The distinction is made between low-wage and high-wage jobs and is based on the median wage within the province where the job is being offered.
For example, if the median hourly wage in Ontario is $24.04, a job offering a wage of $25 hourly would need to follow the high-wage stream, whereas a job offering $23 hourly would be required to follow a low-wage stream.
There are separate advertising requirements for each type of wage, as well as minimum salary requirements when advertising to Canadian national workers.
LMIA Cost and Pricing
Applying is a 2-step process. First, the employer must pay the processing fee and submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for the LMIA. The processing fee is $1,000 Canadian dollars per foreign worker. They can pay by certified cheque, money order, or major credit card. As part of the rules of this program, employers are not able to attempt to recover these fees from employees.
If the application is denied, the Canadian Government will not refund the processing fee. The most common reason for denial is that it is deemed that citizens or permanent residents are ready and able to perform the job duties. If an employer wants to appeal the denial, they will need to submit another application and pay another $1,000.
How To Apply
The application process does not require an immigration lawyer. Employers must submit the following documents to the Service Canada Center responsible for their specific LMIA applications:
- Complete and sign this LMIA Application form and be sure they are prepared to include the name of the employee they wish to hire.
- Complete and sign this Schedule D – Skilled trades job offer – Employer #2 if applicable.
- Provide a signed job offer. This must be signed by the employee and employer.
- This proof of business legitimacy.
- Proof of advertisement of the job to Canadians and permanent residents (which should show where, when, and how long the job was advertised for).
How Long Will the Application Take to Process?
The LMIA processing time will take up to 6 months. In fact, you must apply 6 months before you intend for the employee to begin work. However, there are certain categories that fall into an express process:
- High demand occupations as specified by the region (ex. skilled trades)
- Highest-paid (top 10%) occupations
- Short-duration work periods (120 business days or less)
An important part of a company’s application is to provide corresponding paperwork proving that the company has been unable to find an employee with suitable work experience locally. In addition, it must provide details on the jobs they are advertising, the number of Canadian residents who have responded, who has been interviewed, and the reasons why they have not been hired.
LMIA EXEMPT JOB OFFERS
As previously stated, not all Qualifying Job Offers for Express Entry’s immigration programs require a positive LMIA.
While it’s true the absolute majority of qualifying job offers require an LMIA, there are some exemptions for temporary workers who are in Canada on a valid work permit issued based on one of the following:
- an international agreement (e.g. NAFTA; CETA, CPTPP, etc.)
- a federal-provincial agreement (Provincial nominees, etc.)
- the “Canadian interests” category (Intra-company transferees, entrepreneurs, etc.)
Your job offer still needs to meet all applicable conditions discussed above and a crucial factor is that you have to be working for this Canadian employer based on your valid permit issues as described above for not less than one year.
Such job offers will also grant you an additional 50 or 200 points.
For example, we had a client named Kenneth who had been working in Canada as a work permit holder. He received his permit based on an International Experience Canada program. This program allows citizens from certain countries that meet certain conditions to obtain a one-year open work permit to work in Canada.
Kenneth was from Australia. Kenneth was a foreign temporary worker at a warehouse in Toronto. He was excited about the opportunities he could develop for the logistics industry in Canada by using a computer software he had been developing in his spare time. Near the end of his work permit validity, Kenneth came in for a consultation with one of Green Light’s immigration consultants to see what his options were to acquire Canadian permanent residency.
During the initial assessment, he advised us of his idea of finalizing the development of his software, and we encouraged him to make it an official Canadian Start-Up. We assisted Kenneth with the initial registration and setup of a company in Canada and offered some advice on how to develop a business plan. Once all was finalized, we filed Kenneth’s application for a work permit under the Entrepreneur category.
The application was approved. Kenneth obtained his two-year work permit in the capacity of a CEO and started managing the business.
After one year, Kenneth came back to us to explore his options for permanent residency. We created Kenneth’s Express Entry profile. He scored 378 points. The threshold of Express Entry for an ITA was 466 at the time.
We advised Kenneth that since he was working for his own Canadian company for one year on a work permit issued under the Entrepreneur category and this company still required his management for at least one year after, he could become a permanent resident leveraging his own company’s labour needs.
The company had the financial ability to pay his wages, was engaged in legitimate business activities, and was compliant with all applicable labour regulations, so we decided to claim the additional 200 points. He received his permanent residence 4 months later!
It is important to realize the difference between:
- LMIA required and LMIA exempt qualifying job offers
- Dual intent LMIAs
- LMIAs that allow you to claim additional points and apply for PR
- LMIAs that allow you to apply first for a work permit and only later to claim additional points for the PR process
You must also understand there are rules and regulations for LMIAs that are high or low-wage, the caps, the advertisement, the salary, and duration requirements for each, the owner-operator category LMIA, and job offers that require different types of approvals and are not or are suitable for Express Entry categories (e.g. Saskatchewan job approval letter for Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program, Nova Scotia Nominee program and other).
Canadian immigration is a complex system that requires experience in navigation for success.
With the help of qualified and experienced professionals, your journey will be much smoother and you will avoid a lot of mistakes and disappointment – not to mention, save a lot of money.
Of course, choosing an immigration consultant is not mandatory and is a matter of preference, recommendations, reputation, and more. Should you wish to be represented by an immigration consultant, make sure they are licensed and are in good standing. You may verify it here at the ICCRC and IRCC websites.
Be advised that we have processed thousands of successful LMIAs for Canadian employers. Canadian employers also contact us looking to hire temporary foreign workers from within our pool of clients awaiting Canadian job offers.
For this purpose, we created our own bank of candidates to provide to our employer clients. As our client, you may register, and our employers will review your resume. This job match service is entirely free of charge for you. You will pay only for a work permit/permanent residence application should you choose us to represent you before the Canadian immigration authorities.
We encourage you to reach out to us to assess your immigration options and to discuss your case with one of our licensed consultants. We will be more than happy to help you make your immigration journey fast, smooth and successful.
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