LMIA – Overview
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a general application process that allows Canadian companies to hire foreign workers when there is an evident need of such due to the lack of Canadian nationals or permanent residents to take up the job. The specific government body responsible for assessing these types of applications is known as ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) and upon a positive evaluation, issues a letter that the foreign national can apply for a work permit.
ESDC is not to be confused with IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) which processes visa related paperwork, ESDC is in particular for employers to obtain an approval for hire, which facilitates a visa application.
Within ESDC, there are two main programs for employers who are seeking to sponsor foreign nationals for work permits, which is dependent on the nature of the job offer and foreign national’s country of citizenship:
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) requires the employer to submit an LMIA application to ESDC with all supporting forms and documents. Upon ESDC’s review and following an interview call with the employer, ESDC can either refuse an application asking to re-apply again or approve and issue a positive LMIA letter that the foreign national will use to apply for their work permit. The application for an LMIA verifies that there is a need for a foreign national, and there are no Canadians or permanent residents available to take on the role. Processing of LMIA applications can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the stream of the application.
- International Mobility Program (IMP) exempts the employer from obtaining the LMIA based on active international agreements that Canada has with other countries. For example, all work permits under IEC (International Experience Canada) are part of IMP, thus allowing LMIA-exempt work permits to be issued. Instead of submitting an application for an LMIA, the employer must submit an online request (also called online offer of employment) with a proposed job offer through IRCC based employer portal which will generate a number after the employer compliance payment is made. The application number that will be issued on the portal must be used for the foreign national’s work permit application.
At UL Lawyers, we assist and work with employers to help them navigate through all program requirements, collect necessary documents, prepare for an interview call with the ESDC officer, and assist the foreign national with the application for the work permit. Our firm also advises companies on matters related to compliance regimes under both programs: International Mobility Program and Temporary Foreign Worker Program and assists with responding to compliance inspections. To further learn about these programs, we invite you to look on the tab on your left.
As an employer, if you require assistance with hiring a foreign national worker, you do not have to look any further, as our team of experienced immigration professionals will gladly assist you with your immigration matter. At UL Lawyers, for all immigration matters, we offer free consultation for the first 15 minutes and in the event our law firm is retained, your matter we will credit the consultation fee towards your legal fees. For more information, you can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or email us at email@example.com. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
Under this program, employers are required to submit an application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for any non-Canadian citizen and/or permanent resident that they wish to hire. LMIA assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labour market - this is to ensure that there are no readily available Canadians that are willing to take the job. As such, most* LMIA applications require prospective employers to conduct recruitment in Canada before they can hire a foreign worker.
*Programs that are aimed at occupations in high demand waive the recruitment requirement for the employers knowing that the Canadian labour market lacks talent in particular industries.
Assuming that the submitted application for LMIA gets approved, ESDC will issue a positive LMIA decision letter that the foreign national can use to apply for a work permit.
For programs that require recruitment period to be conducted, the process includes the following steps:
- Recruitment period (4 consecutive weeks) targeting Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the available position. Specific requirements of the recruitment process must be met depending on the pay level of the offered position. Should the recruitment prove to be unsuccessful, and no Canadian or permanent resident is identified to be meeting the requirements of the role, the employer can move on to the next step, which is the submission of the LMIA application to ESDC.
- Preparation and submission of the LMIA application for processing with ESDC. We request basic information and required documents from our clients 2 weeks before the submission for LMIA is due. This allows our clients to be prepared and submit the LMIA application at the earliest opportunity. The application includes a $1,000 government processing fee for each vacancy the employer is seeking to fill. Provided that a positive LMIA decision letter is issued, and a qualified foreign worker is identified, work permit application can be prepared for submission.
- Work Permit application: armed with the positive LMIA, the foreign worker has six months from the date of LMIA approval letter to submit their application for a work permit, otherwise the LMIA expires and the employer must re-apply.
Depending on the citizenship and current country of residence of the foreign worker, application may be submitted online to be processed by the applicable international visa office or at the port of entry to Canada. Some work permits are eligible for an expedited 2-week processing that is solely dependent on the nature of the job offer.
The issued work permit, in addition to its validity dates, will include the employer’s name, location and job title while in Canada. Foreign workers cannot legally work in a different role, or for a different employer without having to obtain a proper authorization. If throughout the term of employment (even with the same employer) there is a possibility of a promotion, change of salary or performed duties, ESDC must be notified.
Important point worth noting, is that LMIA-based work permits grant additional points under Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in Express Entry program, which becomes useful to those seeking permanent residence in Canada. The job offer (also referred to as “offer of arranged employment”), along with the Canadian working experience, significantly improves the foreign national’s chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence under Express Entry.
Employer Compliance Requirements:
Once the foreign national obtains a work permit and starts working, the employer must meet all obligations to stay compliant with respected government bodies of hiring a foreign national. As an employer, the following obligations must be met:
- Meet the requirements of the:
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
- Terms of the LMIA decision letter.
- Annexes to the decision letter.
- Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations(IRPR).
- Keep all relevant records for 6 years from the day the work permit was issued, including:
- documents related to the LMIA.
- documents related to the conditions set out in the IRPR.
- conditions outlined the LMIA decision letter and its annexes.
- Inform ESDC right away of:
- any changes or errors with an approved LMIA.
- changes in TFW working conditions.
- Proactively address any potential compliance issues.
At UL Lawyers, we work with employers and employees equally to assist both parties in granting a work permit to the foreign national and successfully bring them to Canada. For eligibility and other questions about the process, we invite you to contact our team of experienced immigration professionals will gladly assist you with your immigration matter. At UL Lawyers, for all immigration matters, we offer free consultation for the first 15 minutes and in the event our law firm is retained, your matter we will credit the consultation fee towards your legal fees. For more information, you can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter.
International Mobility Program
Unlike the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the International Mobility Program (IMP) doesn’t require employers to go through the LMIA process in order to hire a foreign national to work in Canada. This program was initiated to attract highly skilled individuals to Canada facilitating knowledge transfer and promoting socio-economic exchanges between Canada and participating countries.
Under IMP, the Canadian employer is exempt from applying for an LMIA but is required to submit details related to the job offer and pay the employer compliance fee. Employers must register for an on-line employer portal via IRCC, submit necessary information electronically pertaining to the nature of the job offer, and pay the required compliance fee of $230 online.
Processing of these on-line applications is almost immediate after the payment, eliminating any wait periods and allowing the foreign national to apply for the work permit as soon as the on-line request is issued an approval code on the employer portal.
Under IMP, the following groups of individuals are eligible to come to Canada on an LMIA-exempt work permit:
- Citizens of countries with which Canada has a bilateral agreement with such as CUSMA (formerly NAFTA), CETA, etc.;
- Foreign nationals coming to Canada through an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) to assume a senior managerial position, high-skilled nationals holding specialized or proprietary knowledge or individuals coming to Canada to establish a branch of an existing business overseas ;
- Foreign nationals coming to Canada to perform duties in a professional capacity. Depending on the potential applicant’s citizenship, the approved list of professions may vary;
- Short-term or seasonal workers coming to work in unique industries or specializations;
- French speakers coming to work in a skilled occupation in any province outside Quebec;
- Caregivers applying through Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot;
- Any open work permit applicants such as:
- Post-Graduate Work Permit
- Open Spousal Work Permit
IEC-Working Holiday Work Permit
As an employer, it is expected that the following conditions are acknowledged and maintained in order to stay compliant with ESDC:
- Acknowledging the employee’s work permit and knowing its expiry date;
- Meet the conditions listed on the work permit such as:
- Job location.
- Length of time they can work in Canada.
- Title/Occupation and performed duties.
- Set up medical insurance and workers’ compensation benefits for when they arrive in Canada:
- as required by the province or territory, and
- as listed in the offer of employment.
- Be active in the business that submitted the offer of employment for as long as the work permit is valid;
- Meet all applicable federal, provincial and territorial employment and recruiting laws;
- Make sure the workplace is free of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse;
- In the event the employer is selected for a random inspection, both the employer and the employee must show up for any inspections to answer questions and hand over requested documents or information;
- Be able to show that the information submitted on the offer of employment was accurate, and that the employer provided the temporary worker with the same conditions as outlined in the offer of employment (contract).
At UL Lawyers, we work with employers and employees equally to assist both parties in granting a work permit to the foreign national and successfully bring them to Canada. For eligibility and other questions about the process, we invite you to contact our team of experienced immigration professionals will gladly assist you with your immigration matter. At UL Lawyers, for all immigration matters, we offer free consultation for the first 15 minutes and in the event our law firm is retained, your matter we will credit the consultation fee towards your legal fees. For more information, you can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or email us at email@example.com. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter
International Experience Canada
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a government-initiated youth exchange program that provides young individuals from participating countries with an opportunity to travel and live in Canada on a valid work permit. This program is only open to individuals who hold citizenships from eligible countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, South and Central Americas; For a full list we invite you to visit IRCC webpage.
Basic eligibility requirements of this class are:
- Holding a citizenship from an eligible country;
- Be within the applicable age group: generally, the range is 18 – 35 or 18 – 30 (29 is the maximum for nationals of Mexico);
- Have an equivalent of CAD $2,500 available and ready in a bank account as means of financial sustainability;
- Obtain medical insurance covering the entire stay in Canada;
- Submit police clearance certificates from any countries or territories where the applicant resided for 6 months or more after turning 18 years of age along with other identity documents.
Under IEC, there are 3 available streams:
- Working Holiday: issues open work permits to eligible participants without any restrictions on location or employment types. No job offer is required for this stream.
- Young Professionals: issues employer-specific work permits under International Mobility Program. Applicants must obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer in order to apply for this work permit.
- This type of work permit can grant additional 50 points in the Express Entry system.
- International Co-op: suitable for post-secondary students that are coming to Canada for a work placement or internship as a mandatory requirement to complete studies. This is an employer-specific work permit, but it will not grant any additional points in the Express Entry system.
The application process is similar to Express Entry – applicants create an online profile and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). When IRCC conducts selection draws, applicants will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and be asked to submit documents for work permit processing. Once the work permit is approved, applicants will be issued with a work permit approval letter that must be presented to the immigration officer on entry who will issue the work permit.
Notable information about work permits under IEC is that oftentimes they allow eligible applicants to participate in each stream once: this is solely dependent on the applicant’s country of citizenship. After the first participation, applicants have an option of submitting another application through the same stream (if their citizenship allows the same), submit an application through another stream, or use a Recognized Organization.
Recognized organizations provide support for IEC applicants and facilitate travel and work abroad services between Canada and other participating countries. By providing support to IEC participants such as assisting with finding employment, arranging transportation and accommodation, IEC extends extra work permit spots for clients coming from these organizations.
Currently, IEC has the following list of approved recognized organizations that can facilitate another participation in IEC to obtain consecutive work permit, or allow some citizens that are not listed on the IEC list with an opportunity to participate in this program:
- AIESEC Canada
- GO International Work and Travel Providers
- International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)
- International Rural Exchange (IRE)
- Memorial University of Newfoundland
- SWAP Working Holidays
- University of British Columbia
- University of New Brunswick
Each recognized organization has their own eligibility requirements, we invite you to discover the links above to see whether you can participate.
For eligibility and other questions about the process, we invite you to contact our team of experienced immigration professionals. At UL Lawyers, for all immigration matters, we offer free consultation for the first 15 minutes and in the event our law firm is retained, your matter we will credit the consultation fee towards your legal fees. For more information, you can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter.