How can Canadian Businesses Hire Foreign Workers with LMIA?

According to 2021 census data, immigrants form 23% of Canada’s population. 62% of those immigrants of ages 15 and above are employed. A significant percentage of the Canadian labour force comprises foreign workers. They have consistently filled the gap for skilled labour, boosting the overall rate of employment in the country.

However, if you are a Canadian business owner who wishes to employ a foreign skilled worker, you need a nod of approval from the government. That’s where LMIA comes into play. What is it? How does it help Canadian businesses employ foreign nationals? Let’s get into those details.

What is LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)?

Formerly known as Labour Market Opinion (LMO), LMIA or Labour Market Impact Assessment is a legal document issued to a Canadian employer by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). It is done to evaluate the impact of employing a foreign national in the country. The LMIA will allow an immigrant to get a work permit. On the other hand, it will allow an employer to employ a foreigner.

The government issues a positive or negative LMIA, based on the assessment results. A positive LMIA is a confirmation letter that specifies that a certain position cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, allowing the employer to hire foreign skilled labour. A negative LMIA, on the other hand, indicates that the position can be filled by a Canadian national.

Once the employer receives a positive LMIA, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit by submitting a valid offer letter, job contract, LMIA number and copy of the LMIA along with other documents.

According to the 2021 amendment in the rules, the new LMIA system requires the job position to be divided into two categories:

  • High wage jobs
  • Low wage jobs

How to apply for an LMIA?

Only a Canadian employer can apply for an LMIA. The employer can submit the LMIA application 6-months before the initiation of the employment position. The application can vary based on the wage of the foreign skilled worker. The employers have to refer to the median hourly wages specific to their province, to determine if the position will fall under the high-wage or low-wage category. There is a specialized list of job roles that employers need to mention if they are hiring in those positions, such as:

  • Foreign academics
  • In-home caregivers
  • Agricultural workers

There is a separate criterion for any hiring of a foreigner within the province of Quebec.

All these things need to be specified in the LMIA application.

What are the standard requirements for LMIA application?

When applying, one has to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Pay a processing fee of CAD 1000.
  • Furnish documents that legitimize the Canadian employer’s business.
  • Submit a transition plan detailing their need for hiring a foreign national against someone from the country.
  • Submit proof that there were significant efforts into filling the position with a Canadian citizen or a PR holder, before coming up with the plan to hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW).
  • Include information regarding the wages (high/low), to ensure that it is similar to the amount paid to Canadians for the same job role.
  • Submit proof of workplace safety adhering to provincial regulations.
  • For low-wage workers, the employer has to provide transportation to and from Canada and furnish relevant documents to establish the same.
  • Low-wage workers must be provided accommodation. So the employer has to share those details too.

Positive LMIAs have a validity of 6 months from the date that it was issued. After the LMIA is approved, the employer has to notify the foreign worker. Accordingly, the person can apply for a work permit. The processing time can vary depending on the kind of job and other factors.


Applying for LMIA is a great way to source skilled foreign nationals and utilize their expertise to promote business growth. However, you must remember the points discussed in the write-up to get a positive LMIA.

If you need any help, we will be happy to offer assistance. Feel free to connect with our team of immigration lawyers and consultants. Give us a call at (416) 477-2545 or send us an email at Visit our website to check out our immigration services.

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