Hiring temporary foreign workers is crucial to fill labor gaps in Canada. However, getting a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) can be a vital yet challenging step. This complexity can make it challenging to manage alongside your regular business activities. In this article, we'll simplify the LMIA application process and offer insights into what to expect.
Please note: Immigration regulations are subject to change, and we cannot guarantee that this information is up-to-date. For up-to-date information, please visit the Government of Canada's website or speak with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.
What is an LMIA?
LMIA stands for Labor Market Impact Assessment. In simple terms, it's an official document that explains why hiring a foreign worker is essential for a specific job.
To obtain an LMIA approval, it must also show that no qualified Canadians or permanent residents can fill the job. This process ensures that hiring a foreign worker doesn't negatively impact the local labor market.
When an LMIA is approved, it means the Canadian Government has given its nod to hire a temporary foreign worker. This document is a crucial part of the worker's application when they apply for a work permit. It helps them legally work in Canada and contribute to the workforce.
When assessing the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the labor market, the Canadian Government considers several factors, including:
Will it fill a labour shortage?
Will hiring a foreign worker create jobs for Canadian workers and permanent residents? Will it help them retain jobs?
How else might it benefit the Canadian labour market?
Could it result in layoffs or reduction of work hours for Canadian workers and permanent residents?
Is there a labour dispute at the work location?
As you complete your application, the information you provide should show that hiring a foreign worker will be a benefit to the Canadian workforce and economy. Of course, this also means showing that you are not hiring a foreign worker when Canadian applicants could fill the position.
Before applying for an LMIA, you must advertise the job for at least four weeks (except in agriculture, where it's only two weeks) within the three months before submitting your application. This includes a post on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website. You will also need to advertise in two other places that target underrepresented groups in Canada. This supports your case that no Canadian workers are available and qualified for the position.
Applying for an LMIA gives the employer certain responsibilities. Among other things, employers need to ensure that their workplace is safe and free of discrimination. They must pay temporary foreign workers as much as Canadians in the same occupation and region would make. They also need to act with transparency and provide the Government with accurate information. Finally, they need to prove that they can afford the worker’s wages and are engaged in a legal business.
To post a job, gain government approval, and submit your application, you must clearly define the job's requirements, duties, and pay. It’s best to be as specific as possible with these aspects of the role.
Finally, keep in mind that the government charges a $1,000 fee per employee to process your application in most cases. Employers can't charge or get back this fee from their workers. Some families hiring in-home caregivers for medical or childcare help are exempt from the processing fee. The same goes for Agricultural LMIAs and Permanent Residence Dual Intent LMIAs when the employer backs the worker's PR application.
Do I Need an LMIA?
In many situations, when hiring for different jobs, such as those in industries like farming and hospitality that depend on foreign workers, you'll need an LMIA. However, there are exceptions. You can determine if your position is exempt from LMIA requirements here.
For additional information on LMIA requirements, click here.
Your employer doesn't need an LMIA if:
Work Experience: You've worked full-time for one year with the same employer on your work permit (or part-time equivalently).
Valid Job Offer: You have a valid job offer.
LMIA Exemption: Your work permit falls under an LMIA exemption category:
Provincial Agreements: Part of agreements between Canada and provinces or territories, including "significant investment" projects.
Canadian Interests: Exemption for "Canadian interests" reasons, such as:
Highlighting your "Significant Benefit" means showing that you'll bring important social, cultural, and economic advantages to Canada. This applies to various professionals, intra-company transferees, Mobilité francophone participants, and more.
Specific Designation: Minister-designated roles, including academics, researchers, visiting professors, and competitiveness-related positions.
Medical and Academic Fields: Certain medical roles, post-doctoral fellowships, and academic award recipients.
Charity and Religious Work: Jobs in charity and religious organizations (excluding volunteer positions).
Remember, even LMIA-exempt jobs require a valid work permit in Canada.
For more information about LMIA Exemption, click here.
How long does it take to get LMIA in Canada?
LMIA Processing Time
LMIA processing times usually vary from two to six weeks. It depends on the season and the specific hiring stream you're using. You can find the current processing times on the Government of Canada's website, and they update them regularly.
Remember, mistakes or missing details in your application can cause significant delays, especially if the Government asks for more information. Working with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) can help ensure your application is complete and accurate, potentially expediting the process. In some cases, applications have been approved in record time, such as the recent nine business days approval for a permanent residence stream LMIA.
When planning your timeline, remember that you must post job advertisements for four consecutive weeks before submitting your LMIA application. Additionally, processing times may be affected by external factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting early and allowing extra time before your new employee's start date is advisable.
Can I Submit My Own LMIA Application or Do I Need to Hire a Consultant?
While employers can submit LMIA applications directly to the Government, many choose to work with consultants to streamline the process. This allows you to focus on growing your business instead of navigating complex government forms.
Licensed consultants bring their expertise to the table, helping you create a robust LMIA application that may reduce processing times. Depending on the consultant you choose, they can also assist with hiring and recruitment, and guide your new employee through their journey to Canada.
If you're ready to initiate your LMIA application, our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants is here to assist you. Book a meeting here to get started.