Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)


A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada and is required in order to apply for most Canadian work permits. Prior to submitting the application for an LMIA, the employer must advertise, and Job Bank must be one source. Applications for an LMIA for a temporary position have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for. The positive LMIA is provided by Service Canada / ESDC to the employer, who will give it to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which, if granted, is typically issued for one year. There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for eligible highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

The Application for an LMIA has the same requirements as the LMIAs for Express Entry and Permanent Residence, hence receives the same scrutiny from ESDC.

The foreign workers must show that they meet all the requirements of the position (i.e. education, experience, skills) as listed in the LMIA application.


In most cases, employers are required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire foreign workers. In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.

LMIA applications should show the following:

  • Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents;
  • Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region;
  • Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards;
  • Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge; and
  • Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.

The positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one year if granted.

LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.

There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

How does the LMIA work?

The LMIA process is started when an employer offers a job to a TFW when there is no suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position. The requirements to obtain a positive LMIA are rigorous and the employer must be prepared to comply with all conditions imposed by ESDC/Service Canada.

Employers should be prepared to answer questions about the recruitment process, whether the job offer is genuine and if they have submitted a LMIA in the past. The LMIA was previously known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). TFWs should be prepared to show IRCC that they are qualified for the position being offered.

How to get LMIA for Express Entry

Some skilled foreign workers are professionally qualified to use Express Entry to come work in Canada. Express Entry cannot be granted until a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA, has been completed.

Naturally, this leads applicants to wonder how to get an LMIA for Express Entry. It must be completed by a Canadian employer, who must determine that a foreign worker is desirable because there is no Canadian worker available to fulfill the specific role.

This is a process of many stages and is typical of Canada’s complex immigration system. Further complicating matters, a potential employer may not be especially good at performing all the steps required to complete the LMIA, which is why it is so important for applicants to consult an immigration professional. Applicants must sometimes prompt a potential employer to take work on the LMIA.

Immigration professionals know how this process works for both the applicant and the employer. The immigration professional will ensure that the applicant remains aware of what must happen for the LMIA to be granted.


LMIA-Based Work Permit

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada and is required in order to apply for most Canadian work permits. Prior to submitting the application for an LMIA, the employer must advertise, and Job Bank must be one source. Applications for an LMIA for a temporary position have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for. The positive LMIA is provided by Service Canada / ESDC to the employer, who will give it to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which, if granted, is typically issued for one year. There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for eligible highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

The Application for an LMIA has the same requirements as the LMIAs for Express Entry and Permanent Residence, hence receives the same scrutiny from ESDC.

The foreign workers must show that they meet all the requirements of the position (i.e. education, experience, skills) as listed in the LMIA application.


Owner/ Operator LMIA

To qualify as an owner/operator, a foreign national must demonstrate that they:

  • have a level of controlling interest in the business of more than 50% of the business;
  • are in the most senior position and are active in the management of the business;
  • have a sound business plan;
  • plan to employ at least one Canadian or permanent resident in the first year; and
  • the business activity in Canada will create more employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and permanent residents.

Advantages:

  • When applying for an Owner/Operator LMIA, there is no requirement for advertising or recruitment;
  • This option is available anywhere in Canada;
  • The validity of a positive LMIA is up to 2 years; IRCC issues a work permit for 2 years; and
  • Becomes a path to permanent residence through the Express Entry System.

Disadvantages:

  • The unpredictability of end-result;
  • Employer-specific work permit;
  • There may be a loss of investment; and
  • There are some tax disadvantages.

Global Talent Stream LMIA (Pilot Program)

A two-year pilot to hire highly skilled global talent, which began on June 12, 2017, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Global Talent Stream is a new streamlined process. The Global Talent Stream Pilot is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan which has as a primary objective making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation. The main characteristic of this pilot program is the Labour Market Benefits Plan to detail the specific benefits for the Canadian Labour market and the Canadian economy, and employers must provide activities and targets for each benefit. By taking into employment highly skilled global talent, the employer must commit to further providing both mandatory and complementary benefits, depending on the category they apply under:

Category A

  • referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Global Talent Stream’s designated partners;
  • hiring unique and specialized talent; and
  • mandatory benefits for Category A: creating jobs.

Category B

  • only the occupations on the Global Talent occupations list; and
  • mandatory benefits for Category B: increasing skills and training investments.

Alongside job creation and investment in skills and training, other benefits are transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents and enhanced company performance.

There is no advertising requirement and no transition plan for this stream; however, there is a mandatory progress review on the employer’s progress on their commitments made in the Labour Market Benefits Plan.

Considering the benefits, this pilot program might be extended and eventually transition into a permanent program.


LMIA-Based Work Permit under PNPs

Provincial Nominee Programs facilitate the entry or stay in Canada of many categories of professionals who otherwise might not qualify under the Express Entry System.

Note: if you have not found or trained a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to fill out the labour shortage, you must keep in mind that proper planning is necessary and apply for a new LMIA ahead of time. The temporary worker can apply for a work permit extension before the initial work permit expired, and he can continue working for your organization while awaiting a decision to be made on their application. For the new applications for an LMIA for the high-wage positions, your transition plan must be feasible so to be credible, with realistic and verifiable implementation steps of:

  • increased efforts to hire Canadians and train them in the long-term; or
  • support the high-skilled temporary foreign worker transition to becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Business Expansion to Canada through PNPs

Provincial nominee programs authorize provinces and territories to nominate applicants based on the labour market and economic needs of each province or territory. Please visit our Provincial Nominee Programs page.


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TRV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) That Our Licensed Immigration Professionals Can Answer

How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor? Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada. At the port of entry, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they'll put the date you need to leave by in your passport.
Only in some cases. You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if: You have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more, or you are in Canada because you have already applied for permanent residence from inside Canada.
You do not need a Temporary Resident Visa to visit Canada if you are from a visa-exempt country.
If you're living in Canada, you must have been a permanent resident and physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four 365-day periods) in the six years immediately before the date of your application.
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  2. Provide proof you have the financial means to maintain your family or self and return home.
  3. Prove you will not work or study without authorization.
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