Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by the Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) which carries out some verification and ensures that a Canadian worker could not occupy a job offered to a foreign national. Often, if a Canadian employer wants to hire a temporary foreign worker, they have to apply for an LMIA to the Canadian government.

A standard LMIA processing time usually takes about three to four months. Once it is approved, a positive LMIA allows the foreign worker to apply for a work permit (that is a legal document allowing a foreigner to work in a foreign country).

It is important to note that there are two ways through which an employer can hire a foreign worker; it can be through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and International Mobility Program (IMP).

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): The TFWP is co-managed by the Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and CIC. Often, employers require a labour market opinion (LMO) from HRSDC to employ a foreign worker. A positive LMO means that an employer has endeavour but unable to get a Canadian or permanent resident for the job, also that the job offer is genuine, and that the employer has met all job offer commitments to temporary foreign workers they have hired in the past.

An employer needs to pay a specific amount fee, and it is subject to approval when applying to employ a foreign worker via the TFWP program.

Once a positive LMIA is given, the employer has to submit the necessary documents to the foreign worker, who can then apply for a work permit to IRCC by that LMIA.

The International Mobility Program (IMP): Not all employers are required to get a positive LMIA from ESDC to hire a foreign worker. The International Mobility Program permits employers to hire temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. Under the IMP some categories of foreign workers are exempted from getting an approved LMIA before being employed by a Canadian Employer. These exemptions are on a broader economic, cultural or competitive advantages for Canada; and reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The IMWU has the authority to decide if the foreign worker falls under any of the exempted categories. The employers are expected to reach out to IMWU and pay agreed money of $230 while submitting the offer of employment through the employer’s portal.

An automatic offer of employment number is produced if the candidate is qualified to work in Canada under the IMP. Employers are required to send this number to the foreign worker they wish to hire. Based on that, the temporary worker can apply for their work permit and submit to ICCRC or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The officials verify all documents and on approval, issue a work permit or a Letter of Introduction (If the candidate is outside Canada).

A lot of different factors depend on an LMIA approval, such as the position being offered, a region, high wage or low wage etc. A high-wage worker is a worker who has a wage which is equal to or above the provincial median hourly wage. If an employer wishes to file an LMIA for a high-wage worker, they need to submit a transition plan. This transition plan is drafted to show the Canadian government on how the employer is planning on reducing the reliance on the temporary workers and putting in more efforts to hire Canadians. Whereas a low-wage worker is someone who has an hourly wage which is lower than the provincial median salary. There is no requirement to submit a transition plan if the employer wants to hire them.

A positive LMIA does not necessarily allow a foreign worker to change their job, location or employer because the approval was based on those specific factors. In case any of these condition changes, the worker might have to seek for a new LMIA with the change in conditions.

A temporary worker on an open work permit does not need a Canadian Employer to hire them through IMP or TFWP. As an employer, if you are hiring a temporary worker with an open work permit, you do not need to submit an offer of employment form or pay the employer compliance fee.