What is the LMIA?

Before hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW), a Canadian employer needs to get a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The Canadian government will issue an LMIA after determining that:

  • The TFW will have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market
  • No qualified Canadians were overlooked for the open positions
  • The salary and benefits given to the TFW meet federal and provincial standards

The LMIA Process

The LMIA Canada process differs depending on whether the prospective employee is a “high-wage” (paid at or above the provincial/territorial median wage) or a “low-wage” worker (paid below provincial/territorial median wage).

High-Wage Workers 

Employers hiring high-wage workers must:

  • Submit transition plans along with their LMIA application to ensure that steps are taken to reduce dependency on foreign workers over time. The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers are using the LMIA program as a last resort to address immediate temporary labour hiring needs in the absence of qualified Canadians
  • Demonstrate how they would assist their TFWs in becoming permanent Canadian residents. If the employer applies for LMIA renewal or is chosen for an inspection, they would have to report the progress made on the submitted transition plan

Low-Wage Workers

Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers have to follow a different set of guidelines:

To ensure Canadians are always preferred for open positions, the Canadian government has restricted access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by introducing a limit on the number of low-wage foreign workers a Canadian business can employ.

If the employer applying for LMIA has 10 or more employees, only 10% of their workforce can consist of low-wage TFWs.

Employers hiring low-wage TFWs must:

  • Pay for their round-trip transportation
  • Register them with provincial/territorial workplace safety board
  • Pay for private health insurance until they are eligible for provincial health coverage
  • Ensure affordable housing is available
  • Provide an employer-employee contract

Expedited LMIA

According to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) website, expedited LMIAs are processed within 10 business days. The following categories are eligible:

  • Highest-paid occupations
    The highest-paid occupations are in the top 10% of wages earned by Canadians in that province or territory. This indicates that the temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled, and the Canadian labour market lacks this skill
  • Highest-demand occupations
    These skilled positions (wage is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage) are vital to Canadian economic growth as they are essential for resource extraction and major infrastructure development.
    Click here to see Full List of occupations
  • Shortest-duration occupations
    Employers applying for LMIA for a short duration (120 calendar days or less), in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage can get an expedited LMIA.

    Upon receiving a positive LMIA, the employer must:
    • Send a copy to their targeted foreign worker
    • Include it in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit

Advertising Requirements

Canadian employers hiring TFWs must:

  • Pay a processing fee of CAD $1,000 for each LMIA request
  • Put forth English and French as the only languages required for the job
  • Advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks using at least two other recruitment methods and also on the Canada Job Bank before applying for an LMIA
  • Focus their advertising efforts on under-represented Canadian groups, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities, before turning to foreign workers
  • Not lay off or cut the hours of Canadian workers working in the same position as their TFWs

Quebec Specific Variations & Exemptions

Exemptions and variations to the LMIA process applicable to Quebec Skilled Worker Program are:

  • Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ)
    Individuals approved for immigration get a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) from the Quebec government. Employers do not need an LMIA if the worker has a CSQ certificate
  • Facilitated list of occupations
    Industry sectors with high demand for labour are included in the list of facilitated LMIA occupations for Quebec. Quebec employers applying through the facilitated LMIA process need not provide proof of recruitment efforts
  • Other workers
    TFWs not belonging to the above categories need a Certificat d’Acceptation du Quebec (Certificate of Acceptance to Quebec, CAQ) and a temporary work permit to begin work in Quebec

Not sure how the LMIA applies to you? Don’t worry, we’re here for you.


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