Updated: Feb 24, 2020
LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment and is a labour market verification process whereby Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market. Therefor, if a positive LMIA is issued, that means that ESDC has determined that hiring a foreign worker will result in a neutral or positive effect on the labour market in Canada.
What kind of information is assessed in order to make a positive determination on an LMIA application? The following is a list of factors that are considered:
+ Has the employer tried to recruit Canadians or permanent residents for the position? There is a mandatory requirement for the open position to be advertised for a minimum of three month prior to applying for an LMIA
+ After the mandatory recruitment process has been completed, the next step is for the employer to apply for an LMIA under the premise that the recruitment efforts inside Canada were not successful and a foreign worker is still required in order to fill the position
+ It is essential that the recruitment is carried out correctly and targeting the right audience. Also wages and/or benefits must be appropriate for the position and the job duties
+ Companies that are successful in obtaining a positive LMIA are, typically, in business for at least two years and having filed corporate returns with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
+ They have sufficient funds on account in order to pay wages for the first year to the foreign worker
+ They are offering full time employment that is not seasonal unless applying for a seasonal LMIA
+ They have payroll and other employees on payroll
+ They are not overly relying on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to fill positions within their company or they have an established plan on how to reduce their reliance on foreign workers in the future
+ The job offer is genuine and necessary within the company
+ They have not abused the TFWP in the past or had an LMIA revoked recently
+ The business is legal and permitted in order to operate within the province
+ The company has current or future contracts as proof that they require a foreign worker for the specified period of time
+ Employers cannot lay off or cut the hours of Canadian workers in order to hire a foreign worker. Also the employer should ideally not have laid off workers in the past two years
In terms of a timeline, there is the three month mandatory advertising period followed by the application for an LMIA. After a complete application has been received by ESDC, the processing time begins. For some in-demand occupations and for top 10% wage earners, there exists a 10 day speed of service path. But for most others, the regular processing times will apply. The regular processing times can be anywhere between a few month up to a year or more depending on the province, the title of the occupation etc.
Generally speaking, for jobs located in one of Canada’s major cities, the more specialized the position and the higher the salary offered, the higher the chances of obtaining a positive LMIA will be. In less populated cities and regions, this is still true but generally obtaining an LMIA may be easier. There is also a separate application process for low wage positions as opposed to high wage positions. Further restrictions pertaining to employer eligibility exist for low wage positions such as how many foreign workers may be employed in proportion to Canadians, the unemployment rate in the region must be below a certain percentage and so on.
What many people do not realize until later on in the process, is that not every employer may be qualified. If they are qualified, the process will take time. It is important to ensure that all documentation is in order beforehand. Furthermore, if you are one of those people who needs a job offer in order to use a provincial nominee program or to boost your Express Entry rank with points for arranged employment in Canada, which should be most people currently located outside of Canada, you may want to familiarize yourself with programs such as the AIPP and The Rural and Northern Pilot which do not require an LMIA in order to apply for permanent residence.