LMIA is an acronym for “Labor Market Impact Assessment,” which was once known as a “labour market opinion.” Before being able to engage a foreign worker, a Canadian employer is required to have this piece of paper in their possession. In this section, we will discuss the procedures that must be followed to hire foreign workers, regardless of whether or not you have an LMIA, as well as the requirements for obtaining one, the amount of money it costs, and the processing time it takes.
The LMIA: A Brief Introduction
Workers from other countries interested in working for a Canadian company must go through a specific procedure before being considered for employment. Here is when LMIA comes into play because it indicates the requirement to fill a position with low-wage or high-wage workers. A Canadian business or employer must acquire this document before recruiting workers from outside the country.
The company that is looking to hire competent expatriates must provide evidence that the Canadian Citizens or permanent residents of the country are not viable candidates for the posted positions. If everything checks out, the business will be given the LMIA paperwork and a number that will allow it to move forward with recruiting individuals from other countries.
After all the necessary components have been completed, such as a signed contract and a letter of offer, the international employee can apply for a work permit in Canada.
Considerations Necessary for Issuance of LMIA
Because Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the sole authority issuing LMIAs, it will evaluate a company’s recruitment practices to verify that they do not violate any laws or have a negative impact on the labour market. As a result, the ESDC will ask for specific details, such as the following:
- Vacant job positions specifically advertised to expatriates
- The total number of Canadians who applied and were interviewed (if any)
- Reasons for denying applications from Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents
- Verify the labor shortage in the requested industry
- Offered salaries are in line with the national average
- Working conditions with applicable labour laws and employment agreements
The Different Types of Applications
The LMIA classifies workers as either high-wage or low-wage workers, depending on their hourly pay rate. High-wage workers make up one category, and low-wage workers make up the other. The pay for the particular position will determine the category of the LMIA category. If it is at the same level or above, the employer must apply for a high-wage worker LMIA. If it is lower than the median, the employer may consider applying for the position of a low-wage worker.
Employing Individuals with High Wages:
When a company wishes to hire a high-wage worker, they typically need to submit a transition plan to secure a favourable LMIA. This is required in most cases. With this plan, the company may demonstrate that they have a strategy in place to lessen their dependence on foreign labour in favour of hiring Canadians.
This plan contains a form that must be submitted together with the application for the LMIA. It requests that the employers provide three distinct actions that the company will take to recruit, train, or manage Canadians for their job positions, specifically to look at ways of hiring individuals from underrepresented groups, such as new immigrants, indigenous people, disabled individuals, etc.
Employing Individuals with Low Wages:
Employers in Canada who want to hire a low-wage worker do not need to submit a transition plan with their application for an LMIA to be eligible for the work permit. On the other hand, they are required to comply with certain other regulations, some of which do not apply to workers earning higher wages.
There is a cap on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a firm can hire if they employ workers at low wages. This cap applies only to companies that hire low-wage workers. Employers in Canada with more than ten workers are restricted from hiring more than ten percent of their total workforce from outside the country. This limit is gradually lowered over the course of several years so that the corporation can eventually transition away from employing workers from other countries and toward hiring workers from inside Canada for the various positions in their business.
Processing Time for an LMIA Application
The amount of time it takes to process an LMIA application can change based on the type of work, industry, and geographic area that the application is intended for. It could take as little as a few weeks or as much as a few months. The ESDC has lately committed to completing the processing of specific LMIA applications within ten days of business. These applications consist of the following:
- Applications for the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in skilled category, which are the occupations with the highest demand
- Occupations that fall within the top ten percent which represent the highest-paying jobs in the country
- Applications for temporary work permits, which typically do not last longer than one hundred and twenty days (seasonal jobs).
A corporation will only take out an LMIA if they are convinced that they have exhausted all other options and are forced to hire someone from outside the country. It is not a simple process, and there are challenges involved. Still, it is a way for ensuring that businesses give top priority to searching within their own borders for candidates to fill open positions. This is accomplished while simultaneously making it possible for businesses to hire workers from other countries if they cannot locate an appropriate applicant within the country.
Fees for the LMIA
Each application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment is subject to a processing charge of 1000 Canadian Dollars (unless the application is made strictly in support of permanent residency). For other work permit fees please refer to the link here.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemptions
Foreign workers in Canada don’t have to do an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) all the time. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will usually skip the LMIA process when someone wants to get a work permit in Canada and met one of the following conditions:
Fall Under International Trade Agreements:
This category makes it easier for investors, traders, business visitors, and other professionals covered by deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement to get work permits in Canada (NAFTA). Under these international agreements, transferring workers has been seen as a benefit to Canada, so an LMIA is not needed.
Participation in a Foreign Exchange Programme:
People who come to Canada through youth exchanges like SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program), IEC (International Experience Canada), the Working Holiday Visa, teacher exchanges, and other joint exchange programmes are also exempt.
Private entrepreneurs who want to start or run a business in Canada may be able to get a work permit that doesn’t require an LMIA. Eligible entrepreneurs must meet these criteria:
- own the company or with a majority,
- Their is significant benefits for Canada from the business, and
- they must show that the work they do in Canada will be short-term (for example, seasonal business owners).
When a Canadian company’s foreign subsidiary or branch sends an executive, manager, or person with specialized knowledge to work temporarily in Canada, there is no need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Foreign workers are also exempt if they can show that the work they do in Canada helps Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Some academics, like researchers, visiting professors, and guest lecturers, may not have to get an LMIA.
An LMIA may not be needed for an international student whose programme includes a co-op work placement or internship.
An LMIA might not apply to people who do charitable or religious work for a well-known group or institution.