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What is Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. 

In order to receive a positive LMIA, the Canadian government employee reviewing an application must determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.

An employer may submit an application for an LMIA as early as 6-months prior to the intended start date for the position. LMIA application procedures vary depending on the wage of the person being hired. Employers should consult the median hourly wages of their province or territory in order to determine whether their position is considered high-wage or low-wage, as low-wage positions will require the employer to meet additional criteria.

LMIA Application Requirements

LMIA applications are submitted in by mail or by fax, to the appropriate Service Canada Processing Centre. Applications must include evidence that the following criteria have been met:

  • Processing Fee: Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of CDN $1,000 for each request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment which will not be refunded even if the result is negative. 
  • Business Documents: Documents proving that the employer’s status as a legitimate Canadian business.
  • Job Advertisements: Employers must submit evidence that they made substantial efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the position prior to hiring a TFW.
  • Wages: Applications must include information regarding the TFWs wages. This will differentiate the high-wage positions from low-wage positions and ensure that TFWs are paid the same amount for labour as their Canadian equals.
  • Transition Plan: A high-wage worker is someone who has a wage which is equal or above the provincial median hourly wage. If an employer wishes to file an LMIA for a high-wage worker, they need to submit a transition plan. This transition plan is drafted to show the Canadian government on how the employer is planning on reducing the reliance on the temporary workers and putting more efforts to hire Canadians. 

After an LMIA application has been processed, employers will be issued a decision. Positive LMIAs are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer must notify the foreign national so that they can apply for their work permit or permanent residence. 

A positive LMIA does not allow a foreign worker to change their job, location or employer because the approval was based on those specific factors. In case any of these condition changes, the worker might have to seek for a new LMIA with the change in conditions.

A temporary worker on an open work permit does not need a Canadian Employer to hire them through IMP or TFWP. As an employer, if you are hiring a temporary worker with an open work permit, you do not need to submit an offer of employment form or pay the employer compliance fee.

Who does not need to apply for an LMIA?

Canadian employers can recruit some TFWs without an LMIA. The following are categories where temporary work permits are LMIA exempt:

  • Skilled Workers covered under the NAFTA agreement.
  • Intra-Company Transferees.
  • International Experience Canada participants (also known as Working Holiday Permit holders)
  • Post-Graduate temporary work permit holders.
  • Bridging Open Work Permit holders.
  • Participants in private academic exchanges such as postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors.
  • Programs such as those above have now been reclassified as ‘International Mobility Programs.