What is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?
Each year, more and more immigrants apply for work permits in Canada. This opens great opportunities based on a job offer. However, Canadian employers must comply with certain requirements when hiring foreign workers. For the most part, employers must have a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order for foreigners to apply for a work permit.
A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) makes possible for a Canadian employer to hire a foreign employee. The LMIA is proof that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available for the job and as a result, there’s a necessity to hire a foreign worker.
The Canadian government set this rule to ensure jobs, first, for local legal residents. Therefore, the companies must follow specific requirements to demonstrate evidence that there was no other way than hiring a foreigner. But these requirements also protect the rights of a potential foreign worker. For example, a Canadian employer must meet a minimum wage standard to ensure that foreign workers enjoy the same payments standards and benefits as local Canadians.
The Labour Market Requirement goes along with a Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Canadian companies inviting high-skilled international professionals for high-demand positions must provide an LMIA document. If the HRSDC (Human resources and Skills Development Canada) approves the application, an employer will receive a positive Labor Market Opinion.
The LMIA can apply to an individual worker or job position and multiple workers for a given occupation.
LMIA requirements concern high-skilled and low-skilled occupations. Also, there can be restrictions depending on whether the company offers high or low wages.
LMIA for High-Skilled Occupations
Prior to applying for an LMIA, an employer must advertise a high wage position in high-skilled occupations for at least 28 days in the national or provincial Job Bank. Additionally, he can place the position on other two alternative job sites, one of which must be a national advertiser.
The same rule is applied to low wage high-skilled jobs, though, with some restrictions - the company can hire only 10% of temporary foreign workers.
LMIA for Low-Skilled Occupations
Prior to applying for an LMIA, an employer must advertise a high wage position in low-skilled occupations for at least 28 days in the national or provincial Job Bank. Additionally, he can post the position on other two alternative job sites, one of which must attract minority groups.
The same rule is applied to low wage low-skilled jobs, though, with some restrictions - the company can hire only 10% of temporary foreign workers.
LMIA Application Process
Your employer in Canada is the one who should apply for an LMIA for your job application. He must contact the ESDC to get information on requirements and processing details. The employer will have to present a pile of documents to prove that a foreign worker he’s hiring will not affect negatively a Canadian labor market; he couldn’t hire Canadian for the job he had been advertising.
A Canadian employer will have to pay $1,000 for each LMIA application. The employer needs to pay in Canadian dollars via cheque, money, order, Visa, Master Card or American Express.
In case an employer’s LMIA is refused, he won’t be compensated. There’s no way to appeal the ESDC’s decision because it has a policy which prevents applicants from doing so.
LMIA Processing Times
LMIA processing can take a few months, depending on a job position, sometimes, two weeks. Nevertheless, employers must keep in mind that a job advertisement must have been at least four consecutive weeks (28 days) within the three months prior to submitting a Labor Market Impact Assessment.
What is a Labor Market Opinion?
A Labor Market Opinion is a statement about a positive or negative effect on the Canadian Labor Market. A Canadian Employer must demonstrate that a skilled worker will contribute to the Canadian local economy. After obtaining a positive LMO, the employer must send a copy to a foreign worker, which must be attached to the worker’s application for a temporary work permit.
There are occasions where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to obtain an LMO.
What You Must Know About the LMIA?
For a number of job positions in Quebec, while required an LMIA, employers don’t need to show evidence of recruitment efforts.
Prior to applying for an LMIA, you must first receive a job offer from a Canadian employer or company. With a job offer and an LMIA, and additional documents you can apply for a work permit.
There’s a possibility to obtain a work permit without a Labor Market Impact Assessment. For example, you might be eligible to work in Canada under the International Mobility Program. If your country is in the list of countries that have a bilateral agreement with Canada, you can consider one of the programs for young professionals.
What is the Temporary Worker Program?
The Temporary Foreign Worker program is what allows employers to hire foreign workers. These workers if hired can acquire the status of temporary workers. Only after their employers receive a Labor Market Impact Assessment document, they can apply for the foreign worker program to receive their work permit.
After one year in Canada on LMIA based visa, a foreign worker can apply for a permanent residency under certain immigration programs. One of such programs is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) under the federal Express Entry system leading to PR. The CEC has been created for foreign temporary residents with Canadian work experience.
Other Options for Foreign Workers in Canada
Foreigners working in Canada on a valid temporary work permit can consider other options. These are immigration programs to receive Canadian permanent residency.
You might be eligible for one of the immigration pathways under the Express Entry. For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program or a Canadian Experience Class, if you have accumulated enough Canadian experience.
With a good knowledge of French, you can consider the Quebec immigration programs. In fact, bilingual applicants speaking both English and French have better chances to get permanent residence. The IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) even assigns additional points under the CRS score system to such candidates.
Apart from federal immigration programs, each province in Canada offers Provincial Nomination Programs for skilled and semi-skilled workers. For example, provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia or Saskatchewan offer a Semi-Skilled Worker Category.
Canada Work Permit
Apart from a Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a Canadian work permit for foreign workers can be processed through the International Experience Canada, NAFTA, and so forth.
Under the International Experience Canada, youth from 34 countries can live and work in Canada. International companies in Canada can bring skilled staff through Intra-Company transfers or Global Talent Stream. And under the International Mobility Program, employers willing to hire foreign workers don’t need to provide an LMIA.