Many foreigners want to live and work in Canada permanently, in hopes of one day becoming a Canadian permanent resident. However, there are a fair few who would love to simply work in Canada on a temporary basis. This could be for many reasons including wanting to test the waters before fully committing to Canadian life.

Luckily when it comes to the Canadian immigration system, there is something for everyone. There are programs that allow foreigners to live and work in Canada temporarily, however, they generally require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

What Is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a verification process in which the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses a foreign worker's offer of employment to make sure that it won't have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. After the ESDC has assessed whether it's feasible to hire an international worker, the result will either be a positive or negative LMIA.

  1. A positive LMIA shows that an employer was unable to fill a certain job in Canada with a Canadian or a permanent resident that is suitable for the position.
  2. A negative LMIA shows that there are Canadian or permanent resident candidates that can fill the position.

How to Apply for an LMIA?

You don't have to apply for an LMIA yourself, instead this falls under the responsibility of your prospective employer. They will need to request an LMIA six months before the start date of your contract. Each employer has a different application procedure, which is dependent on your wage and the median wage of the province or territory you'll be working in.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers to fill labour and skill shortages. Employers can hire temporary workers through the following streams:

  1. High-Wage Workers - If an employer wishes to hire a temporary foreign worker who will be paid at or above the median hourly wage of their province or territory
  2. Low-Wage Workers - If an employer wishes to hire a temporary foreign worker who will be paid less than the median hourly wage of their province or territory.
  3. Global Talent Stream - A service by the government to help employers access highly skilled global talent and expand the workforce in Canada.
  4. Foreign Agriculture Workers -Employers wishing to hire temporary foreign workers to fill specific positions related to agricultural production.
  5. In-Home Caregivers - Families wishing to hire a foreign national to provide care, in a private residence, to seniors, children, or individuals with medical needs, may be able to do so through this stream.
  6. Foreign Academics - Canadian employers wanting hire foreign academics to help degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in Canada meet their staffing and teaching needs.

What are LMIA Requirements?

Your employer will have to meet the following requirements to receive a positive LMIA:

Show that they could not fill the job locally

Canadian employers need to advertise the position for a minimum of four consecutive weeks in the last three months before applying for an LMIA. The advertisement needs to be done on the government website JobBank.

Develop a transition plan or a labour market benefits plan

A transition plan, produced by your employer, should contain in detail how the employer plans to undertake to recruit, retain, and train Canadians and permanent residents to reduce reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. For those that fall under the Global Talent Stream, employers must develop a labour market benefits plan that describes how hiring a highly skilled foreign worker will benefit the Canadian labour market.

Draw up an employment contract

An employment contract must be drawn up and signed by the employer and the temporary foreign worker. This contract will ensure that all individuals involved are aware of their rights and obligations. The contract needs to be signed before the temporary foreign worker arrives in Canada.

Meet additional requirements for low-wage positions

Low-wage workers must have additional work benefits arranged. These benefits include transportation, healthcare and affordable housing. Inspections may be done by the ESDC to ensure employers comply with the requirements.

Pay the LMIA application fees

Canadian employers need to pay a CAD $1,000 processing fee for the Labour Market Impact Assessment application. When applying through the Caregiver Stream and Agriculture Worker Streams, the employer may be exempt from paying the application fee. The LMIA is valid for six months from the time it's issued to the employer.

Once you have your LMIA, you'll be able to apply for your Canadian work visa. The following documents are needed to apply:

  • The job offer letter;
  • The employment contract;
  • A copy of the LMIA; and
  • Your LMIA number

How We Can Help You

Applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment can be difficult to fully understand with all the procedures and requirements. Making a mistake on the application can be very costly and can affect your chances of getting a job in Canada. With the help of the Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) we work with, who are experts in the Canadian immigration field, the process will be made simple and stress-free for you. Your success rate will greatly increase as well.