Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Based Work Permit for Employer-Specific Work Permits

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Based Work Permit for Employer-Specific Work Permits


A labour market impact assessment will show what the effect on the Canadian labour market would be if an employer were to hire temporary foreign workers.

Establishing the Need For Temporary Foreign Workers

It needs to show that no qualified Canadian citizens are available to do the job, as priority is given to hiring Canadian residents over foreign nationals. The labour market impact assessment was originally known as a labour market opinion, but the purpose is the same.

Role of the Employer

Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will need to apply for a labour market impact assessment and pay the required employer compliance fee of $1,000 CAD.

A labour market impact assessment is part of a verification process to protect both Canada’s job marketplace and temporary foreign workers; it must be requested by the employer, not the potential worker.


There are some exemptions to the LMIA requirements, such as under the International Mobility Program. For LMIA exemptions, an exemption code is required. The latest codes can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Labour Market Impact Assessment Application Process

LMIA Application Process

A Canadian employer can apply up to six months before the anticipated start date.

A Canadian employer submits the labour market impact assessment application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). When assessing the application, ESDC will consider whether there are any qualified Canadians available to fill the job on offer, and whether the employer made recruitment efforts to fill the position with a Canadian (or permanent resident) worker first. It will also determine if the employer is offering a salary consistent with the regional median wage for the position.

The process will vary by the type of temporary foreign worker being hired. When employers start the process to hire temporary foreign workers, the correct route will need to be followed:

  • High-wage positions (High wage occupations and the highest paid occupations include those above the provincial/territorial median*)
  • Low-wage positions (Low wage occupations include those where wages earned are below the provincial/territorial median*)
  • Job positions through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  • Workers through the Agricultural Stream

The employer will need to select a job title and national occupation code (NOC), and advertise the position accurately based on identified needs. The processing fee of CDN $1,000 applies to each application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and is paid along with the application.

* Median hourly wages by province or territory as of May 2023, per Employment and Social Development Canada

Province/Territory Median hourly wages as of May 31, 2023

  • Alberta $28.85
  • British Columbia $27.50
  • Manitoba $23.94
  • New Brunswick $23.00
  • Newfoundland and Labrador $25.00
  • Northwest Territories $38.00
  • Nova Scotia $22.97
  • Nunavut $35.90
  • Ontario $27.00
  • Prince Edward Island $22.50
  • Quebec $26.00
  • Saskatchewan $26.22
  • Yukon $35.00

High-Wage Temporary Worker Transition Plan

To hire workers that are considered high wage, the LMIA application requires the employer to submit transition plans. A transition plan details the employer’s commitment to reduce reliance on temporary foreign workers.

Low Wage Workers Maximums

For these, a transition plan is not needed, but there is a limit on the numbers an employer can have. An employer with over ten employees can have no more than 10% of those being low-wage temporary foreign workers.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has the final decision on a labour market impact assessment.

A positive LMIA means that there is a need for a temporary foreign worker, with no Canadians or permanent residents being available to do the job.

Once a positive result is issued, the worker can apply for the temporary work permit at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The work permit is valid only for the specific position with the employer requesting the LMIA.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The employer needs to have a positive decision on the LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), unless the position is exempt.

Work Permit Application for Foreign Workers

With notification of a positive result, a copy of the LMIA decision should be provided to the foreign national applying to be a temporary foreign worker. This documentation needs to be included in the LMIA Work Permit application.  

These work permits are known as employer-specific work permits, or closed work permits. The foreign national can only perform the specific job for the employer listed on the LMIA.


The work permit application is processed through Immigration and Citizenship Canada. There may be special requirements depending on where and when you apply, but at a minimum, you must:

  • Prove you will leave Canada when the permit expires;
  • Provide proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and any family members while in Canada and to return home;
  • Have no record of criminal activity;
  • Not be a danger to Canadian security;
  • Be in good health an have a medical exam if required;
  • Not work for an employer listed as “ineligible” or who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

Requirements and processes are constantly changing, and are complex. Oro Immigration Services helps applicants with both the LMIA and work permit processes, to increase the chances of success.