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 foreign national, 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.

An LMIA needs to show that no Canadian workers are available for the job opening and that only a non-Canadian worker can fill the position. 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:

There is also the Facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment process for Quebec employers (LMIA) program for foreigners in Quebec. Under this program, a Quebec employer who hires a foreign employee for a position covered by the occupational list is exempt from having to first advertise the position locally in order to attract 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) and
  • have a job offer and
  • 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.

That is, you may be exempt from having to obtain an LMIA to immigrate through Express Entry if your current temporary employment in Canada is exempt from LMIA, performed for a specific employer or employers (for FSTP) and (one of three):

1. Covered by 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. Exempt from LMIA in the "Canadian interests" category:

  • "Significant benefit" — if your employer can demonstrate that you will bring an important social, cultural and/or economic benefit to Canada. This may include:
  • Mutual Employment — allows foreign workers to get jobs in Canada when Canadians have similar opportunities in other countries:
  • Category of ministerial appointees:
  • Charity 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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