If you’re a foreign national with a valid job offer in Canada who would like to become a Canadian citizen, an LMIA may be in your best interest. A Labor Market Impact Assessment 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.

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

Getting a Labor Market Impact Assessment is an important step in getting a temporary work permit in Canada. It must be properly filed with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada, certifying that a business can hire a temporary worker.

It also verifies that there is a need for a temporary foreign worker and that no domestic applicants are available to do the job, giving priority to citizens over foreign nationals. If an employer hires a temporary worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), they will need to apply for a new LMIA and pay the required fee.

Since the labour market changes quarterly, the final decision on issuing work permits rests solely with IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). Not all occupations on a positive LMIA list are issued a work permit. There are several complexities when filling out documents, and knowing the most current information is key to your application’s success.

This article will help you understand:

  • What businesses are eligible to apply for an LMIA and hire foreign workers?
  • What are the current professions eligible for this program?
  • What are the current exempted professions? 
  • Is IMP (International Mobility Program) exempting you from completing the LMIA process?
  • What are preconditions for a business to apply?

IRCC publishes annual statistics on the number of foreign workers who enter the country in its Facts and Figures publication. These statistics are based on the number of work permits issued at ports of entry and encompass a variety of program streams beyond the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), such as temporary residents entering Canada for work, study or humanitarian and compassionate reasons.

Completing the application is a lengthy process, and failure to comply with all the formal requirements, and not knowing which requirements are absolutely essential, can result in an application denial. This can be a costly ordeal for both the employer and potential employee. Once a business receives a negative response, it will diminish their chances of success when re-applying in the future.

Cost and Pricing

Applying is a 2-step process. First, the employer must pay the processing fee and submit an application to ESDC for the LMIA. The processing fee is $1,000 Canadian dollars per foreign worker. You are able to pay by certified cheque, money order, or major credit cards. As part of the rules of this program, employers are not able to attempt to recover these fees from employees. 

If you apply and your application is denied, the Canadian Government will not refund your 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 you want to appeal the denial, you will need to submit another application and pay another $1,000. 

How To Apply

The process does not require an immigration lawyer. Employers must submit the following documents to the Service Canada Center responsible for their specific LMIA applications: 

  1. Complete and sign this LMIA Application form and be sure they are prepared to include the name of the employee they wish to hire. 
  2. Complete and sign this Schedule D – Skilled trades job offer – Employer #2 if applicable. 
  3. Job offer signed by the employee and employer
  4. This proof of business legitimacy
  5. Proof of advertisement of the job to Canadians and permanent residents (which should show where, when, and how long the job was advertised for)

We recommend you submit copies of your documents and keep the originals in case you need them. If your application is denied or deemed incomplete, your documents will not be returned to you. So to save yourself the hassle of refilling them out, send copies, and hold on to your original documents.

How Long Will the Application Take to Process?

The application process  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.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) considers the following when assessing the eligibility of the applicant:

  • Did the company meet the standards when advertising the position (in terms of duration and circulation)?
  • Will hiring a foreign worker help create additional jobs?
  • Are the salary requirements met for the advertised position?
  • Are the working conditions acceptable?
  • Did the company demonstrate sufficient effort to fill the position with a Canadian worker?
  • Is the industry in the region doing well enough to sustain foreign labour?

It is important to understand that LMIAs are issued specifically based on the company that applied for it, as well as the job position that they used. If a Canadian work permit for a foreign worker has been issued based on it, the worker cannot work in any other occupation or relocate.

Requirements For an LMIA-Exempt Work Permit

  • Jobs included in an international trade accord, such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
  • Jobs included in an agreement between the federal and provincial government
  • Jobs deemed as in the best interest of Canada

However, it is important to understand that all the above-mentioned categories do require a permit in order to be able to work in Canada.

There is a limited list (around 500) of exempt employers who do not require an LMIA. Job offers from these employers will guarantee a much faster permit application process to help you get to work.

Choosing the right strategy based on experience and knowledge is vital for an approved LMIA. Our immigration consultants at Green Light Canada have a high success rate in obtaining an LMIA.

While assessing a company for an LMIA, we take into consideration the latest changes in immigration law to minimize the chances of getting a negative result.

If you’re interested in successfully obtaining an LMIA, Contact Green Light Canada.