In order to hire a foreign worker, Canadian employers obtain a document know as Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) before applying for a work permit. The primary purpose of LMIA is to protect the interest of the Canadian workers and Permanent Residents from unfair treatment and to allow them first access to jobs. A positive LMIA is a sign that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job and no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

While it is not easy to get a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must demonstrate that there is a genuine and acute shortage of skills, which is affecting his business to the service Canada. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) conducts assessment of employer’s business needs and their hiring process to assess whether the foreign worker will likely have a positive effect on the labor market in Canada.


Process of Hiring Temporary foreign workers

To fill the labor & skill shortage, the Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers two programs to hire temporary foreign workers know as, International Mobility Program (IMP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

International Mobility Program (IMP)

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

It is not mandatory for some employers to have a positive LMIA, and is exempted when hiring through the International Mobility Program (IMP).

It is mandatory for an employer to hire foreign worker through TFWP. A positive LMIA is a sign that there is a need for foreign worker and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.


Some of the exempted list that is classified under International Mobility Program (IMP) are as follows:

  • Workers covered under NAFTA agreement.
  • Agreement with Provincial/Territorial programs.
  • Intra-company transferees.
  • Post-Graduate Work Permit holders.

The LMIA processing time can be unpredictable and can range from a couple of weeks to few months.


Categories of Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

There are two categories of LMIA, the below chart illustrates them in detail.

High-Wage LMIAs

Low-Wage LMIAs

High wage positions are offered a salary at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage. Low wage positions are offered salary below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage.
Employers must furnish a transition plan explaining how they intend to permanently fill the job held by temporary foreign worker. Transitional measures will apply to employers whose work forces do not comply with the new rules.
Certain applications will be processed more quickly. Foreign workers in skilled trades, high paid workers with salaries in the top 10% of Canadian earnings, and workers coming for 120 days or less will all receive LMIA decisions in 10 business days Employers in the accommodation and food service sector as well as the retail trade sector will no longer be allowed to apply for LMIAs for jobs in 10 lower-skill occupations


English test to immigrate to Canada with a TFWP

People are often motivated to get a LMIA to support their points for Express Entry, it is however, important that LMIA application needs to be employer driven from a genuine labor shortage. In order to demonstrate that you have good English proficiency it is advised to take IELTS test which is widely recognized and a good score can help you in securing a Canada Permanent Resident status.

LMIA and Temporary Work Permit Application

While it is obvious that the LMIA process is complicated, and costs $1000 per application, Service Canada has significant powers to enforce large fines and bans for misusing the program. It is thus important to apply for a LMIA approved work permits to avoid any legal hurdles.

If you wish to apply for a LMIA approved work permit, schedule a one on one consultation session with our ICCRC registered counselors.

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