Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for employment in Canada

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for employment in Canada

In some cases, in order to employ foreign nationals in Canada, an employer must do a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

To employ a foreigner, an employer must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada that gives the employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker.

To obtain an LMIA, an employer must prove that only a foreigner can fill this vacancy, since there are no Canadian employees available for it. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

It is entirely up to the employer to complete the assessment. Before employing a foreigner, the employer must verify whether an LMIA is required, and if so, he must apply for it.

The foreign worker can also independently verify whether an LMIA will be required for his or her employment. To do so, you have to answer a few questions to find out:

  • the type of work permit for which the foreign worker will be able to apply;
  • steps an employer must take before a foreign worker applies for a work permit.

Employers who employ certain types of temporary workers must obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before the worker applies for a work permit. Once the employer receives the LMIA, the worker can apply for a work permit.

To apply for a work permit, an employee must provide:

There is also the Facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment process for Quebec employers (LMIA) in Quebec. Under this program, a Quebec employer who hires a foreign employee for a position from the occupational list is exempt from having to first advertise the position locally in order to recruite Canadians to it.

When LMIA is not needed

If you immigrate through Express Entry, the employer does not need to obtain an LMIA if you:

  • have worked full-time for the same employer on a work permit for at least 1 year (or an equal amount of time on a part-time basis);
  • have a job offer;
  • have a valid work permit that is exempt from LMIA under
    • international agreement, or
    • federal-provincial agreement, or
    • under the "Canadian interests" category.

If you immigrate under the Federal Skilled Trades Program, up to two employers can make you a job offer. You must work for two employers.

You may be exempt from the requirement for an LMIA to immigrate through Express Entry if your current temporary job in Canada is LMIA exempt and is for a specific employer or employers (for FSTP). In addition, one of the following conditions must be met:

1. Your job is covered by an international agreement such as NAFTA or GATS and non-trade agreements. This can include professionals, traders and investors.

2. Covered by an agreement between Canada and a province or territory. This includes "significant investment" projects.

3. The job is exempt from LMIA in the "Canadian interests" category:

  • "Significant Benefit" — if your employer can demonstrate that you will bring significant social, cultural and/or economic benefit to Canada. Beneficial employment for the country is divided into several categories: 
    • general category — self-employed engineers, technical workers, creative people and artists, etc.;
    • internally displaced workers with specialized knowledge – only those who will benefit Canada with their skills and experience;
    • Mobilité francophone workers.
  • Mutual employment — allows foreign workers to get jobs in Canada when Canadians have similar opportunities in other countries. These include:
    • general category: for example, professional coaches and athletes working on Canadian teams;
    • International Experience Canada — program abroad for youth and young professionals;
    • exchange programs such as professors and visiting lecturers.
  • Minister appointed category:
    • scientists, including researchers, visiting lecturers and professors (sponsored under a recognized federal program);
    • category "competitiveness and public policy" — medical residents and other medical professionals; doctors after defending their doctoral dissertation and those who have received academic awards from Canadian universities.
  • Charitable and religious work (not including volunteers).

These categories can only be exempted by the LMIA if you also meet the criteria in the first part of this section.

Occupations that are exempt from the LMIA still require a work permit.

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