As an employer in Canada, to employ foreign workers from overseas, you may need to get the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The aim of the LMIA process is to verify that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available for the job role. Read more..
Like many other countries around the world, Canada’s immigration system requires that a test of the labour market be carried out before granting some work permits. This is referred to as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and is designed to ensure that no Canadian citizen or settled person is able to fill a job before it is offered to a candidate from outside of the country. An LMIA is not always needed, especially where skills are in short supply, hence it is important to verify if one is needed before completing the LMIA process. On this page, we will explain what is meant by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in Canada, when one is needed, and the process which needs to the followed.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a formal document that Canadian employers may need (an LMIA is not needed in all cases) before they can offer a job to an overseas candidate. The aim of the LMIA process is to verify that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. If the assessment confirms that an overseas worker is needed, this is a ‘positive LMIA’ (this is received in a ‘confirmation letter’).
If an LMIA is required, it is mandatory and must be gained before offering a role to an overseas worker. If the LMIA is positive, the overseas candidate is then able to submit their application for a work permit.
In most cases, a Canadian employer will need to complete the LMIA process if they are considering taking on a temporary foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This program is only intended for employers facing short-term skills and labour shortages and only when no Canadians and permanent residents are available. An LMIA may also be needed by those applying through the Global Talent Stream. There are some exemptions from carrying out an LMIA, many of these relate to free trade agreements with certain countries, which remove the need for an LMIA. To check whether you need an LMIA, the Canadian immigration authorities recommend taking the following steps:
Step 2) Choose the most applicable LMIA exemption or work permit code (if one applies)
Step 3) Include the code in your offer of employment
Under the amended LMIA procedure for 2021, roles are categorised either as high-wage (i.e. at or above the median wage) or low-wage positions (below the median wage).
For 2021, before applying for an LMIA, the employer must conduct at least three different recruitment activities:
· advertise on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. If you choose to use an alternative method, you must submit a written rationale and explanation of the alternative method
· you must also conduct at least two additional methods of recruitment that are consistent with the occupation.
In order to gain a positive LMIA for a high-wage worker, a Transition Plan, valid for the duration of the employment of the temporary foreign worker, must be submitted by the employer. The Transition Plan must outline the activities which the employer will carry out to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents and to reduce their reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. A Transition Plan is not required for low-wage worker roles.
Employing businesses must also provide documents that their business and job offer are legitimate.
New companies and businesses can apply for an LMIA if they wish to take on an overseas worker. In order to apply, they will need to carry out three recruitment activities to prove that no Canadian national or permanent resident is available to do the job and submit a Transition Plan (for high-paid workers only).
Businesses hiring foreign nationals for temporary roles in Canada need to ensure that they do not exceed the cap of 10%. This cap only applies to low-paid workers, however. The aim of implementing a cap is to enable employers to transition to a greater reliance on the Canadian workforce.
LMIAs are typically valid for six months; during this time, the following steps should happen:
· employers must notify the temporary foreign worker that the LMIA was approved.
· employers must send a positive LMIA letter to the temporary foreign worker.
· temporary foreign workers must apply for a work permit.
If these steps are not completed in the six-month timescale, a new LMIA will be required.
There is a possible exception relating to COVID-19 in 2021. The IRCC website currently states, “A validity period extension of up to a maximum of nine months (or, till December 15, 2021, for SAWP LMIAs approved for the 2021 season) is permitted if the original LMIA’s validity period was issued for six months”.
Jobs offered to foreign nationals which require an LMIA must have wages similar to those paid to Canadian and permanent resident employees hired for the same job and work location and with similar skills and years of experience. The IRCC rules state that employers must pay the prevailing wage, which is defined as the highest of either:
· the median wage on Job Bank
· the wage that is within the wage range that you are paying your current employees hired for the same job and work location, and with the same skills and years of experience
In addition, the role being offered must meet the Canadian laws in relation to:
· hours of work (including overtime)
· working conditions
· transportation costs (where applicable)
· housing costs (where applicable)
· termination of employment
Under the IRCC Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), a job offer with a positive LMIA may be worth between 50 and 200 points depending on the NOC skill level of the role.
If you currently hold a Temporary Foreign Worker permit and wish to switch to a new employer, that business will need to submit a new LMIA application before they can offer you a role.
A Canadian LMIA is typically valid for six months.
If a positive LMIA is received by the employer, a copy of the confirmation must then be sent to the foreign candidate. They can then apply for their Temporary Foreign Worker permit. To make a successful application, the foreign worker will need to submit the following information:
· a job offer letter from the employer
· a contract of employment
· a copy of the LMIA and the LMIA reference number
As of 2021, the application fee for an LMIA is $1000 per foreign worker. IRCC advise, “the processing fee will not be refunded if your application is withdrawn, cancelled or if your Labour Market Impact Assessment is negative. Refunds are issued only if a fee was collected in error”.
· Global Talent Stream: 13 business days
· Agricultural stream: 14 business days
· Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program: 8 business days
· Permanent residence stream: 16 business days
· In-home caregivers: 16 business days
· High-wage stream: 31 business days
· Low-wage stream: 38 business days
Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Canadian immigration. If you need assistance or advice on how you can get a Positive Labour Market Impact Assessment for Canada or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact our Immigration Solicitor for help.
"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...Read More
"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...Read More
"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...Read More
"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...Read More