Most employers need an LMIA before they can hire a temporary foreign worker. An LMIA is a verification process to protect Canada’s job marketplace and foreign workers. The LMIA is to be requested by the employer, not by the worker.
The Canadian employer must submit an LMIA application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). When assessing the application, ESDC will consider, among other things:
- If there are Canadians available to fill the job on offer.
- If the employer made efforts to fill the position with a Canadian (or permanent resident) worker.
- If the employer is offering a salary consistent with the regional median wage for the position.
A positive LMIA means that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job. Once a positive LMIA is issued, the worker can apply for the work permit at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The work permit will be valid only for the company’s specific position that requested the LMIA.
There are different requirements if the position offered is “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers whose remuneration is below the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage. Temporary foreign workers whose compensation is equal to or above are considered high-wage.
|Median hourly wages by province or territory|
|Province/Territory||Median hourly wages prior to May 11, 2020
|Median hourly wages as of May 11, 2020
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$22.00||$23.00|
|Prince Edward Island||$19.49||$20.00|
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2018 and 2019
For High-Wage workers, the LMIA application requires the employer to provide a transition plan. A Transition Plan is a specific explanation of the Canadian employer’s commitments to reduce reliance on Temporary Foreign Workers. On the Low-Wage Workers application, there is no need to provide a Transition Plan. Still, there is a limit on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers than a Canadian employer can have. A Canadian employer with more than ten (10) employees is restricted to a maximum of 10% of low-wage temporary foreign workers.
Usually, a processing fee of CDN $1,000 applies to each application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
How to get an LMIA
The employer needs an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The application process depends on the type of program. There are different ways to apply based on if the employer wants to hire high-wage workers, low-wage workers, workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, or workers through the Agricultural Stream.
A positive LMIA means that there is a need for a temporary foreign worker, and no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job.
Work Permit Application
Once an employer receives a positive LMIA, the worker can then apply for a work permit. This work permit is known as an employer-specific work permit or closed work permit. This means that the foreign national must perform the specific job for the employer listed on the LMIA.
The work permit application is completed through Immigration and Citizenship Canada. There can be special requirements depending on where and when you apply for the work permit, but regardless of where you apply or which type of work permit you apply for, the applicant must do the following:
- prove that he/she will leave Canada when the work permit expires;
- provide proof of having sufficient funds to take care of the applicant (worker) and the applicant’s family members during their stay in Canada and to return home;
- have no record of criminal activity;
- not be a danger to Canada’s security;
- be in good health; a medical exam may be required;
- not plan to work for an employer listed as “ineligible” or for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages;
At Oro Immigration Services we can assist with both the LMIA and the Work permit application.