About the Canadian LMIA Work Permit

22 May 2024
If you do not have an open work permit that allows you to work anywhere, you will obtain the right to work through a closed work permit, which permits you to work with a designated employer. Often, these closed work permits are approved through Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Some workers are exempt from the LMIA requirement. The LMIA is a document required by some Canadian employers before hiring temporary foreign workers, which must be obtained before the foreign national applies for a work permit. This column aims to address your queries about the LMIA in depth.

First, let's examine what an LMIA is. LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment, a process by which employers prove that there are no suitable Canadians or permanent residents available for the job before hiring a foreign national. If approved, the employer can hire a foreign worker. The LMIA assesses whether hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market and aims to protect employment opportunities within Canada and minimize the impact of foreign workers on the Canadian labour market.

Apart from the general LMIA, there are different criteria for issuing LMIAs for high-wage and low-wage positions, the agricultural sector, and the Global Talent Stream. If the wage offered by an employer is above the median wage of the province or region, the employer must prove that the offered wage is fair through a comprehensive wage survey and does not need to submit a settlement and support plan. However, they must submit a transition plan to show measures taken to reduce reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. For low-wage positions, where the wage offered by an employer is below the median wage of the province or region, the employer must submit a specific plan to assist the worker's settlement and there are restrictions on the number of workers that can be hired. The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a program that expedites the LMIA process for certain high-skilled job categories. It includes two categories: high-skilled workers in specific occupations that Canadian employers want to hire and high-skilled talent recommended by designated partner organizations or companies involved in innovative projects and technologies.

If you are approaching the expiration of your work permit and looking to extend it, another LMIA will be required. At the time of work permit application, applicants must ensure that the LMIA is valid in Canada. While a work permit can be issued for a longer period than the validity of the LMIA, the LMIA must be valid at the time of the work permit application. Therefore, if the initial LMIA has expired and the worker intends to extend their work permit in Canada, the employer must obtain a new LMIA before the employee can apply for another work permit or extension. Additionally, when applying for a new LMIA, it's important to know that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will start the evaluation process anew and handle the employment situation afresh. In other words, ESDC will reassess whether a Canadian citizen or permanent resident could fill the job instead of a temporary foreign worker if necessary.

If you are running your own business in Canada, you may wonder if an LMIA is required. If you are operating your own business, an LMIA is not necessary. However, you must prove one of the following: first, that you can create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits; second, that you can maintain or create job opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If you can prove one of these and meet other conditions, you can be approved for a work permit without an LMIA.

Express Entry candidates with an LMIA can also gain more CRS points. Those who have obtained a work permit through an LMIA within Express Entry can receive an additional 50 points, thereby increasing their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

To apply for an LMIA, the employer must advertise the job across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before hiring the applicant. To do this, the employer must prove that they have posted the advertisement on the Canada Job Bank and used at least two other recruitment methods. Additionally, it is prohibited for the employer to lay off or reduce the hours of a Canadian worker in the same position as the temporary foreign worker, thus ensuring that Canadians are not excluded from employment due to foreign workers and that foreign workers receive federal and provincial standard wages and benefits without discrimination.

Despite various measures related to Canadian immigration, Canada still has many places that need workers. Additionally, as many are preparing for permanent residency and waiting, it can be a significant option to consider in Canadian employment and immigration.


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