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An LMIA is essentially a tool that allows the Canadian government to assess whether hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or negative impact on the Canadian labour market. To obtain an LMIA, an employer must submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada, demonstrating that they have made efforts to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents for the position, and that the hiring of a foreign worker will not adversely affect Canadian wages and working conditions.


An LAn LMIA gives gives

Canadian employers permission to hire a temporary foreign worker. It is a prerequisite for employers of certain types of temporary workers, so that their prospective employees

Obtaining a positive LMIA indicates

That there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job vacancy that a Canadian worker or permanent resident is unable to fulfill. A positive LMIA is also referred to as a confirmation letter.

An LMIA confirms that

1) There is a legitimate need for a temporary foreign worker .
2) There are no Canadians or permanent residents available to fill a job vacancy due to a shortage of skilled labour LMIA

Obtaining A Positive LMIA:How Can a Canadian Employer Get An LMIA?
You’ll need to file an LMIA through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The application process will be different for each employer and it will vary depending on the stream through which you are hiring:

  • High-wage workers
  • Low-wage workers
  • Workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  • Workers through the Agricultural stream
  • Permanent Residence (except Quebec)
  • Caregiver (Only from inside Canada except for Quebec)
  • Simplifié (Only for Quebec)

  1. Advertise the position: Employers must demonstrate that they have attempted to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents for the position by advertising the job in at least three different places for a minimum of four weeks.

  2. Apply for an LMIA: Once the recruitment efforts are completed, the employer must submit an LMIA application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The application must include information about the employer, the position, the foreign worker being hired, and the recruitment efforts that were made.

  3. Pay the processing fee: There is a processing fee that must be paid when applying for an LMIA. The fee amount varies depending on the type of application being submitted.

  4. Wait for ESDC’s decision: ESDC will review the application and make a decision based on several factors, such as the employer’s efforts to hire Canadians, the wages being offered, and the labour market conditions in the region. If the LMIA is approved, the employer will receive a positive LMIA.

  5. Hire the foreign worker: Once the employer receives a positive LMIA, they can offer the job to the foreign worker. The worker can then use the LMIA to apply for a work permit to come to Canada.

Lmia Process

In most provinces in Canada, employers must demonstrate that they have gone through a recruitment process before they can apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign workers. This process involves advertising the job opening on national or provincial job banks for at least 30 days before considering hiring a foreign worker. The job posting must remain up until the employer receives a positive LMIA. There are some exemptions to this rule for certain job positions or LMIA streams, but generally, employers must follow this recruitment process.

In addition, depending on the LMIA stream, employers may also be required to advertise the job vacancy on websites that target specific groups in Canada, such as underrepresented groups. Quebec-based employers are exempt from this requirement if the job vacancy is considered essential by Service Canada or is on a list of difficult-to-fill occupations.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provides employers with a positive LMIA after taking into consideration certain requirements that must be met by the employers. These requirements will vary depending on the type of program through which you’re hiring.

The programs, also known as streams, available are:

LMIA exemptions refer to situations where Canadian employers may be exempted from obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring foreign workers. In such cases, the foreign worker may be eligible for a work permit without the employer needing to go through the LMIA process.
It's important to note that LMIA exemptions are situation-specific and depend on several factors, including the type of job, the foreign worker's qualifications, and the country of origin. Employers and foreign workers should consult with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for more information on LMIA exemptions and work permit requirements.

Here are some common examples of LMIA exemptions::

  • International agreements: Canada has several international agreements that allow foreign workers to work in Canada without an LMIA. For instance, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain professionals from the United States and Mexico may be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit.

  • Canadian interests: In certain circumstances, hiring a foreign worker may be deemed to be in the best interests of Canada. For example, foreign workers may be exempt from an LMIA if they have unique skills or experience that are not readily available in Canada.

  • Spouses or common-law partners: Spouses or common-law partners of certain temporary foreign workers in Canada may be eligible for an open work permit, which is not tied to a specific employer and does not require an LMIA.

  • Post-Graduate Work Permit: International students who have completed their studies at a designated learning institution in Canada may be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, which is an LMIA-exempt work permit that allows them to work in Canada for up to three years.

  • Intra-Company Transfers: Foreign workers who are being transferred from a foreign company to a Canadian branch of the same company may be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the Intra-Company Transfer program.

LMIA stands for Labor Market Impact Assessment, which is a document that Canadian employers may need to obtain before hiring foreign workers. Here are the general requirements for Canadian employers to obtain an LMIA:

  1. Advertise the job: Canadian employers must first advertise the job to Canadian citizens and permanent residents before seeking foreign workers. The job must be posted on the Canadian Job Bank website for at least four weeks, and the advertisement must meet specific requirements.

  2. Pay the application fee: Canadian employers must pay a fee when submitting their LMIA application. The fee varies depending on the type of LMIA requested and the size of the employer.

  3. Provide information about the job: Canadian employers must provide detailed information about the job, including job duties, qualifications, and salary.

  4. Provide information about the company: Canadian employers must provide information about their company, such as business registration, tax filings, and proof of workers’ compensation coverage.

  5. Demonstrate a need for a foreign worker: Canadian employers must demonstrate that there is a genuine need for a foreign worker to fill the job. This may involve proving that they have tried to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents but have been unable to find a suitable candidate.

  6. Demonstrate that the foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian labor market: Canadian employers must demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market. This may involve proving that the wage being offered is in line with prevailing wages for similar jobs in the area.

It’s important to note that the requirements for obtaining an LMIA may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the job and the employer. Additionally, there may be additional requirements for certain LMIA streams, such as the Global Talent Stream or the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Canadian employers should consult with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for more information on the specific requirements for their situation.

The duration of an LMIA process can be unpredictable. It can take anywhere from six weeks to several months, taking into account the 30-day job advertising period that is required before filing an application. 

According to Service Canada, the processing time after filing an LMIA application will vary depending on the type of application. See the table below to see average processing times in connection to the type of application. 

Keep in mind that the table above provides average processing times, however, the actual processing time will vary depending on the number of LMIA applications that Service Canada is having to process at the time of your application, along with other delays and the difficulty of each case. 

The application fee for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in Canada varies depending on the type of LMIA being requested and the size of the employer. As of 2021, the standard processing fee for a regular LMIA application is $1,000 CAD. However, some LMIA categories, such as the Global Talent Stream, may have a higher fee. Additionally, employers with fewer than 10 employees may be eligible for a reduced processing fee of $300 CAD for a regular LMIA application.

It’s important to note that the application fee is non-refundable, even if the LMIA application is denied. Employers should also be aware that additional fees may be required for other aspects of the work permit process, such as the work permit application fee and the employer compliance fee.

With most immigration processes, if an employer has met all requirements and has filed a complete LMIA form, the application should result in a positive outcome. However, the decision is at the discretion of Service Canada officers who will examine the application. 

For that reason, LMIAs could be refused solely due to a technicality.

As each type of LMIA application is different, you’ll need a different form for every process. 

Use the resources below to find the right LMIA form you’ll need to get your process started. 

Canadian employers who want to check if they must apply for an LMIA can review the LMIA exemption codes and work permit exemptions. Select the work permit code that seems to be the most relevant to each occupation. 

If an exemption code applies to you, you do not need to apply for an LMIA. Be sure to include the exemption code on your offer of employment to your prospective employee.

LMIA approval times vary depending on the type of process. However, you can expect for the entire process to take a minimum of six weeks, as you will be required to actively advertise a job vacancy for up to 30 days before you can file for an LMIA.

Once you have filed an LMIA, the process will last anywhere between 12 to 48 business days depending on the type of LMIA and system delays by Service Canada. For more detailed information, consult our LMIA Application Processing Time section above. The delay for applications in Quebec can be longer.

You will need to file one LMIA form  by employer or in some cases one form for each employee you would like to hire.

Yes. If an employer doesn’t meet the criteria established by Employment and Social Development Canada, an LMIA can be refused.

If your LMIA has been refused, you may file again unless your application has been revoked within the past two years as a result of providing false, misleading or inaccurate information.

Yes, an LMIA is required for foreign nationals that want to change their status in Canada or for workers that want to change employers. Everything is online now on LMIA portal. All applications are submitted through one portal only. No separate forms are required anymore. Login

On April 4, 2022, Service Canada extended the validity of an LMIA to 18 months. The temporary foreign worker(s) must apply for their respective work permit within those 18 months

No, an LMIA is a preliminary requirement for employers so that they can be allowed to hire temporary foreign workers. Without a positive LMIA, a work permit cannot be obtained by a foreign worker.

There are no mandatory language requirements such as IELTS to file an LMIA, however it’s important for employers to take into consideration language assets during the hiring process if it’s relevant to job responsibilities.
Although language abilities may not be relevant to issue a positive LMIA, a Service Canada officer could reject a work permit if they deem that there are reasonable grounds for the foreign national to not be able to perform their work effectively due to a language barrier.

Yes, a foreign worker is allowed to work in their country of residence while they wait for a final decision on their LMIA application. Also, a temporary foreign worker within Canada is only allowed to work while waiting for an LMIA if they applied for a new work permit before the expiration date of their last document because they fall under the maintained status. Visitors or any status other than worker are not entitled to a worker maintained status. It’s important to keep in mind that an LMIA is not a work permit nor does it provide implied status.

The employer is responsible for paying any fees related to the LMIA process.

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