Calculate your Labor Market Impact Assessment and find out your chances of getting a work permit.

Work In Canada

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign national to work in Canada. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident available to fill in the position and the employer is then allowed to hire a foreign national. A negative LMIA indicates that the position should be filled in by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.

A foreign national cannot apply for an LMIA. Rather, LMIAs are documents which must be applied for by a Canadian employer. While sometimes it is possible to hire a foreign worker who is exempt from needing an LMIA, or who is exempt from requiring a work permit, all streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) require that an employer obtain an LMIA in order to hire outside of Canada. As well, many of Canada’s immigration pathways to permanent residency require that applicants show a positive LMIA in order to claim points for a Canadian job offer.

Table of Contents

LMIA ApplicationLMIA Application RequirementsLow-Wage WorkersAfter An LMIA Is Approved, What Happens?Median Hourly Wages by Province or TerritoryExemptions to LMIA RequirementsFacilitated LMIA (Quebec)Global Talent StreamIntra-Company TransfersNAFTA Work PermitsCETA Work Permits

LMIA Application

An employer may submit an application for an LMIA as early as 6-months prior to the intended start date for the position. LMIA application procedures vary depending on the wage of the person being hired. Employers should consult the median hourly wages of their province or territory in order to determine whether their position is considered high-wage or low-wage, as low-wage positions will require the employer to meet additional criteria. There are specialized streams for employers wishing to obtain LMIAs for certain areas of employment. These include:

  • Hiring In-Home Caregivers
  • Hiring Agricultural Workers
  • Hiring Foreign Academics
  • Hiring within the province of Quebec

LMIA Application Requirements

LMIA applications are submitted in hard copy, by mail, to the appropriate Service Canada Processing Centre. Applications must include evidence that the following criteria have been met:

  • Processing Fee: All applications for LMIAs include a $1000 CAD processing fee which will not be refunded even if the result is negative. Certain applicants under the LMIAs for in-home caregivers may be exempt from this fee.
  • Business Legitimacy Documents: Documents proving the employer’s status as a legitimate Canadian business.
  • Transition Plan: Employers must submit a plan for how they intend to address the need to hire foreign nationals. Eventually, employers are expected to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents rather than TFWs.
  • Recruitment Efforts: Employers must submit evidence that they made substantial efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the position prior to hiring a TFW.
  • Wages: Applications must include information regarding the TFWs wages. This will differentiate the high-wage positions from low-wage positions and ensure that TFWs are paid the same amount for labour as their Canadian equals.
  • Workplace Safety: TFWs are entitled to the same standards of workplace health and safety as Canadians in the same position. For this reason, employers must provide evidence that TFWs will be covered by insurance which is at minimum equivalent to the health coverage offered by the province or territory where the business is located.

Low-Wage Workers

Employers submitting LMIA applications for low-wage positions, must also address the following three requirements:

  • Cap on TFWs: If an employer has previously hired TFWs they
  • Transportation: Employers must provide low-wage workers with adequate transportation to and from Canada. This transportation is provided at the employer’s expense.
  • Housing: Low-wage workers must be provided with adequate housing for the duration of their employment in Canada.

After An LMIA Is Approved, What Happens?

After an LMIA application has been processed, employers will be issued a decision. If the employer is issued a positive LMIA, they can proceed with hiring a foreign national. If a negative LMIA is issued then unfortunately the employer is not approved to hire a foreign national. Positive LMIAs are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer must notify the foreign national so that they can apply for their work permit or permanent residence. In certain conditions, employers may apply to have their LMIA application processed in 10 days. To qualify for expedited processing, an employer must be located outside of Quebec and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Highest wage positions: top 10% of wages earned by Canadians in the province/territory of the job
  • Skilled Trades: paid at least the median provincial/territorial wage for the position.
  • Short-Term positions: 120 days or less
  • Express Entry: the LMIA is to assist an Express Entry candidate

Median Hourly Wages by Province or Territory

If an employer is hiring a TFW to be paid at or above the median hourly wage for their province or territory then they must go through the high-wage workers stream for LMIAs. If an employer is hiring a TFW to be paid below the median hourly wage then they must go through the low-wage workers stream.

Province/Territory2018 Wage ($/Hour)2019 Wage ($/Hour)Wages prior to May 11, 2020Wages as of May 11, 2020Alberta26.6727.28British Columbia23.9825.00Manitoba21.0021.60New Brunswick20.0020.12Newfoundland and Labrador22.0023.00Northwest Territories34.0034.36Nova Scotia20.0020.00Nunavut30.0032.00Ontario23.0824.04Prince Edward Island19.4920.00Quebec22.0023.08Saskatchewan24.5224.55Yukon30.0030.00

Exemptions to LMIA Requirements

In certain cases, it may not be necessary for an employer to obtain an LMIA in order to hire a foreign worker. The majority of LMIA exemptions are managed through the International Mobility Program.

Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)

The province of Quebec retains significant autonomy over its immigration policies and procedures. For this reason, the province has a few unique distinctions regarding the hiring of foreign workers. The facilitated LMIA process allows Quebec employers to apply for LMIAs without needing to provide evidence that they made efforts to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position.

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a two-year pilot program launched in June 2017 through a partnership between Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The GTS assists certain Canadian employers to hire highly-skilled global talent enabling them to compete on an international scale. Employers who are successfully referred to the program will be able to expedite the process for hiring foreign nationals through the Global Skills Strategy.

Intra-Company Transfers

Canada’s International Mobility Program enables high-skilled foreign nationals to work temporarily in Canada as intra-company transferees. If a foreign national is an employee of a company in a location outside of Canada, they may be eligible to obtain an LMIA-exempt work permit to transfer to one of the company’s locations within Canada. The intra-company transferee rule applies to all countries.

NAFTA Work Permits

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) encompasses an expansive array of trade protocols between Canada, the United States, and Canada. NAFTA provides unique opportunities for the authorization of citizens of the United States and Mexico to work in Canada. Those foreign nationals covered by NAFTA provisions may be eligible to work in Canada without the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or a work permit.

CETA Work Permits

The Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) encompasses an expansive array of trade protocols between Canada and EU member nations. CETA provides unique opportunities for the authorization of EU nations to work in Canada. Those foreign nationals covered by CETA provisions may be eligible to work in Canada without the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or a work permit.



Calculate your Labor Market Impact Assessment and find out your chances of getting a work permit.

Frequently asked questions

Sometimes you're just looking for reassurance, or you're curious about what it would be like to experiment with a service before you make a decision. These FAQs will help you with those questions:

What is the Cost of an LMIA?
There are a few different costs to keep in mind – professional fees, advertising fees and government processing fees. Professional fees will vary depending on the type of LMIA you require and who you choose to work with. It is reasonable to expect a quote for the entire LMIA process up front, so that you have a solid understanding of your final out of pocket costs before you start the process. Depending on your situation, you may require a consultation first, before a firm LMIA price can be provided, in order to assess whether or not an LMIA is suitable for your situation and what type of LMIA will be required. Advertising fees will vary depending on the type of LMIA you require, but again, it’s reasonable for you to expect a quote in advance of starting the process. Government processing fees for LMIAs also vary depending on what type of LMIA you require. For an LMIA to enable a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker stream, the government charges $1000 to assess the application. There is no government fee associated with an LMIA to enable an applicant to apply for Permanent Residence; however, if a dual intent LMIA is requested then the $1000 fee will apply. A dual intent LMIA allows the foreign national to apply for a work permit so that they can start work before their application for Permanent Residence is approved. Keep in mind that it is illegal for the worker to pay for any portion of the cost to obtain an LMIA. Canadian law mandates that the employer covers the costs of obtaining an LMIA.
How Hard is it to Get an LMIA?
It is entirely possible to get an LMIA approved if you are working with a representative who is experienced with the process. The Canadian government has designed the LMIA process to be difficult; and a refusal is always the default position of the government. They want to make it a burden for companies to hire foreign workers, in order to preserve job opportunities for Canadians. However, there are many cases in which Canadian workers are not available to fill needed positions, and a foreign worker is the only option. Working with an experienced representative on the LMIA process is going to be the best investment you make in terms of your foreign worker program.
How many LMIA’s can an employer get?
There is no one answer to this question, as it depends on many factors that will be unique to each situation. In most cases, it is possible to get as many LMIA approvals as are legitimately needed. However, for lower skilled positions, there is a CAP on the number of foreign workers that any one business can employ; and there can be certain restrictions in place due to regional unemployment levels.
What is the next step after LMIA approval?
The LMIA is just one part of the process to hire a foreign worker. The worker is not authorized to start working for you until they have either a work permit with the name of your company indicated or have landed as a Permanent Resident of Canada. Once you have received the LMIA approval, you should forward a copy to the foreign worker that you intend to hire, and ask them to keep you updated on their next steps in submitting the necessary immigration application. An approved LMIA has only a 6 month validity period, so it’s important that the worker act quickly to submit their immigration application before the LMIA expires.
If I hire someone using an LMIA, what happens if they don’t work out?
If you decide after the foreign worker starts to work for your company that it isn’t a good fit, you can terminate the foreign worker according to the labour laws in your Province. Ensure that you notify Service Canada of the date the worker is no longer in your employ. If you decide that you can no longer offer the position before the foreign worker actually starts to work for your company, you need to notify both the worker and Service Canada as soon as possible. Cancelling a job offer can have serious immigration consequences for the foreign worker, so it’s a decision that should not be taken lightly.
The Provincial minimum wage changed in our province and now the LMIA approved wage rate is below minimum wage. What do I do?
Provincial Labour standards always override the LMIA approval. If the minimum wage for the Province is now greater than the LMIA approved wage rate, you need to adjust the worker’s rate to at least match the minimum wage.
What are the conditions for LMIA?
Image result for lmia canada faqs For all other types, employer requirements for LMIA are the following: Has a legitimate business. Provides goods or services to the public. Is able to pay a salary to a foreign worker. Has a genuine need for a foreign worker. Has not laid-off employees in the 12-months period preceding application.

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