As a foreign worker applying for a job in Canada, or a Canadian employer planning to hire a foreign worker to work in Canada, one of the mandatory requirements is the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It is also sometimes referred to as a confirmation letter.
What Is The LMIA?
This document is compulsorily required for anyone who enters Canada with an employment offer in this country under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. It is also mandatory for employers. The document has to be obtained from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The ESDC assesses the offer of employment and evaluates whether it will have a negative impact on the Canadian job market.
A positive LMIA will indicate that there is a need for a foreign worker to do this particular job. It also indicates that no Canadian worker was available to do this particular job.
The main means of demonstrating the above is by producing evidence that the jobs were advertised extensively in Canada, for at least four weeks. At least two other recruitment methods have to be used, apart from the Canadian Job Bank website. Proof that no Canadian applicants were qualified for the position offered has to be provided.
In general the ESDC considers the following while evaluating an LMIA application:
- Whether the foreign national will be a full-time worker on a pre-determined wage
- Whether salary and compensation terms are consistent with local averages
- Working conditions consistent with labor laws
- Whether there’s a labor shortage for that occupation in that particular area
- Labor disputes in the company
- Has Canadian employer made sincere efforts to employ a suitable Canadian
- Can foreign worker transfer unique skills/expertise to Canada
- Retain or create Canadian jobs
LMIA was earlier known as the LMO (Labor Market Opinion)
LMIA for jobs in major cities may be easier to process, while LMIAs for jobs in remote locations may be easier to get. More specialized jobs, with higher wages can result in a more positive LMIA.
There have been several recent changes in the LMIA. Consulting an experienced immigration lawyer with experience in successfully handling such cases is a wise option.
Separate LMIA Categories like High-Wage and Low-Wage LMIAs are available, based on the type of employment.
Low-wage LMIA category workers will be permitted to work for only one year in Canada.
Employers applying for high-wage LMIAs have to provide a transition plan to the ESDA. This plan should indicate how the company proposes to reduce dependency on TFWs. Proof of the employer investing in training and apprenticeship of suitable Canadian candidates and/or proof of assistance plans for the TFW to get Canadian citizenship or permanent residency have to be included.
English and French are the only languages to be cited as job requirements, unless employer offers proof that another language is required for this particular position.
Express Entry Visa holders with a job offer supported by a positive LMIA from a Canadian employer may be invited to apply for permanent resident-ship when the system draws applications from the Express Entry pool.
Currently there is a cap on low wage TFWs. ESDC is providing a 3-year transition period for adjustment to this new cap.
Exemptions to LMIA
Work permits are LMIA-exempt if workers are :
- Covered under the NAFTA agreement
- Intra-company transfers
- Working holiday permit holders (International Experience Canada participants)
- Post-graduate work permit holders
- Bridging Open Work Permit holders
- Doctoral fellows, visiting professors, academic exchange participants
- Participants in International Mobility Programs
If the application meets all of the following criteria, it will not receive a favorable outcome.
- The occupation falls under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) type 72, 44 or 45. These are jobs categorized under Accommodations, Food Service, Retail Sales, Light-duty cleaners, Cashiers, Landscaping/Grounds maintenance workers, Construction trades helpers/workers, Janitors, security staff, etc.
- Occupation falls under Skill Level D.
- The economic region where the employment is available has an annual unemployment rate of 6% or more.
- Certain occupations like employing foreign airline-pilots may face additional requirements.
Usually, LMIA processing time is difficult to predict, and could take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
However, the ESDC allows for a 10-business-days service for certain LMIA applications. This is strictly available only for jobs in high-demand, like skilled trades, or jobs that offer the top 10% range of wages earned by Canadians in that province or territory, or jobs that are less than 120 days’ duration.
How We Can Assist
The LMIA regulations and provisions are subject to frequent changes. These changes deal with different categories of jobs, duration, exemptions, etc. The processing fee structure also changes from time to time.
Unless the applicant is fully capable of articulating their position and circumstances to Service Canada and simultaneously manage a huge amount of details, it’s wise to hire a professional immigration lawyer who specializes in this sector.
There are no short cuts or secret formulas for success. Instead, it’s all about meticulous, painstaking hard work and attention to details. Employment officers are definitely not kindly disposed to applications with omissions, misrepresentations and those that seem to be attempting to circumvent the system. Their decisions are based on labor market indicators and the data submitted by the employer. We can help you as an employer or as a TFW applicant to present a detailed, logical, well-articulated application with all the attributes of professional business communication.