If you are a foreign national planning to move to Canada to pursue a job offer, you need a positive LMIA from your prospective employer before applying for a work permit. 

What is LMIA in Canada?

LMIA stands for Labor Market Impact Assessment. It is a document that an employer must get before hiring any foreign worker. It is issued by the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) some times known as “Service Canada”. 

LMIA in Canada when positive, is proof that a foreign worker is needed to fill the job position. It also shows that no Canadian or permanent resident was found to be suitable for the job. A positive LMIA document allows the employer to hire a foreign national. 

As per the LMIA requirements for employers, they must apply to the Canadian government for approval to hire a foreign national worker. The ESDC assesses the situation to ensure that hiring a foreign national does not negatively impact the Canadian labor market. 

Application Process for LMIA Work Permit in Canada

Any Canadian employer who wants to hire a foreign national for a position in their company must apply for an LMIA unless the would-be employee comes under the International Mobility Program. This applies to both small businesses and large corporations. But, to be eligible to apply, employers must show evidence of an immediate need for hiring and the financial capability to pay the required wages as per industry standards.

The employer must submit an LMIA application to the ESDC. To fulfill the LMIA Canada requirements, the employer must give detailed information regarding the job offer, such as the job role, wage scale, and working conditions. 

After receiving the application, the ESDC will assess the situation and determine whether hiring a foreign worker is necessary. If the application is approved, the employer will receive a positive LMIA document. This gives the employer the go-ahead to hire a foreign national. 

Any foreign worker who has been offered a job position in Canada must be able to show a positive LMIA application from their prospective employer to apply for a work permit in the country. 

High and Low Wage Positions in Canada

The LMIA application process varies depending on the type of job being offered by an employer to a foreign worker. The two main job categories considered in this process are: 

High-Wage Positions

The Canadian government publishes a median wage level for every occupation in each province region. High-wage positions refer to jobs that pay a higher wage than the median wage for that occupation in that specific location. Typically, these job positions require a higher level of skill and experience. To apply for a high-wage LMIA work permit, employers need to provide a transition plan in their application supporting the foreign worker’s future permanent residence. 

Low-Wage Positions

Low-wage positions refer to jobs that pay a lower wage than the median wage published by the Canadian government for that occupation in that specific location. The application for a low-wage position goes through a more stringent assessment of the recruitment efforts that were made to hire a Canadian worker for the position and how hiring a foreign worker might impact the Canadian labor market. 

Checklist for LMIA Requirements for Employers

While submitting their LMIA application online, employers need to make sure that all the required information is provided without fail. Here is a checklist of the details that absolutely cannot be missed. 

Job Offer Information

This is the primary requirement. To apply for LMIA in Canada, you need to include a detailed job offer in the application. This includes information about the job role, wage level, and working conditions. The job offer has to be for a position the employer has been unable to fill with a Canadian worker. 

Recruitment Efforts

The employer has to give proof of the recruitment efforts made to hire any Canadian citizen or a permanent resident for the job position. This can be shown through a record of job postings on different websites in Canada or as a collaboration with local job placement agencies. The employer must also show the number of interviews held for the position and why they were found unfit for the job. 

Wage Rate

The LMIA application must clearly mention the wage rate being offered to the foreign worker. It should align with the current wage rate for that occupation prevailing in the region of the job location. 

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How to Apply for LMIA in Canada?


Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Before you apply an LMIA in Canada, make sure you are eligible to apply. For this, you need to be an employer based in Canada and must be having difficulty finding a Canadian worker or permanent resident who is suitable for a job position in your company. 

Step 2: Gather Information

Gather all the required information and supporting documentation that you need to provide in the LMIA application. This includes details such as the job role, wage level, and working conditions. You must also have your bank statements to show that you can pay the wage and provide evidence of the recruitment efforts to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents for the job. You must also show proof that you have paid employees in the past for at least one year (in most cases), and proof of any licence you may need to carry on your business.

Step 3: Submit an LMIA Application

Once you have all the information, you can now submit your LMIA application online. There is an application fee for LMIA, which has to be paid at the time of submission.

Step 4: Wait for Approval

Once the application is submitted, you must wait out the processing period. While the processing time may vary, LMIA applications can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months to get processed. During this time, the employer might get a call from the LMIA processing center if your case officer needs additional information. 

Step 5: Receive LMIA Approval Letter

If your application is approved after the assessment process, you will receive a positive LMIA confirmation. This document states the conditions of the LMIA, including wages, working conditions, and longevity of the job offer. The letter also includes the employer’s name and information, the foreign worker’s name, and the work location. As per the new rules for LMIA Canada 2023, this positive document has an 18 months validity from the date of issue. This means the foreign worker must submit their work permit application within this period of 18 months. 

Step 6: Obtain a Work Permit

Once the positive LMIA document is in hand, the foreign worker can now apply for a closed work permit to enter Canada. Employers must ensure the work permit application is submitted, including the positive LMIA confirmation. 

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Who is Exempt from LMIA? 

There are certain job offers where the employer does not require a  Labor Market Impact Assessment document to hire a foreign worker. Most of these LMIA exemptions include jobs under the International Mobility Program. This program is designed to fill the labor shortages in Canada, bring in high-skilled international talent to the country, and promote the exchange of trade opportunities between Canada and other countries.

Some popular LMIA exemptions are as follows: 

Facilitated LMIA (Quebec) 

The province of Quebec in Canada has autonomy over its immigration policies. Hence, they have their own process for hiring foreign workers. The province follows a facilitated LMIA process wherein the employers do not need to show any recruitment efforts to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the job. 

Intra-Company Transfers

If a multinational company wants to transfer any of its foreign workers to Canada for a temporary work assignment, they do not need an LMIA. The foreign employee must have been working in the company for a certain duration prior to the transfer and be in a high-skilled job role or a senior management position. 

Global Talent Stream

This program allows and assists employers in Canada to hire highly skilled, talented professionals worldwide, helping them compete internationally. The aim is to fill high-level positions in STEM fields such as engineering, mathematics, etc. 

Free Trade Agreement

Under this policy, citizens of those countries with a free trade agreement with Canada are allowed to work in Canada without requiring an LMIA. This includes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

How To Get LMIA Faster? 

This is a question most employers ask frequently. Is there any way to expedite the process of your LMIA application? As explained before, the average processing time is between a few weeks to several months. The time taken to process each application varies based on factors like the type of job, the location of the job, and the time of year. 

Consult with experienced immigration lawyers to ensure everything goes smoothly with your LMIA application. Our lawyers can guide you through the complexities of the immigration process, particularly if you’re dealing with issues related to criminal inadmissibility Canada. We are well-versed in handling cases before the Immigration Appeal Division and can provide the necessary legal support to increase your chances of a successful appeal.

If you need assistance applying for an LMIA work permit, contact our experts at Chaudhary Law Office

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