LMIA Information for Employers

Employers hiring a Foreign Worker

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) was previously known as the Labour Market Opinion (LMO). The LMIA is an application once approved by Service Canada allows the employer to hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW). If the employer does not obtain a Positive Labour Market Impact Assessment he/she cannot hire the foreign national. The purpose of the LMIA is that the employer has to put efforts to hire a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident first prior to offering the position to a foreign worker. Obtaining a Positive LMIA is not easy as the employer has to demonstrate several recruitment efforts by posting the position in different places, interviewing potential candidates and explaining why those workers were not hired. So if you are an employer looking into hiring a foreign worker then this blog will help you understand the basic concept of it and what steps you need to take as the employer to hire a foreign worker.

What is an LMIA?

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is an assessment conducted by Service Canada. The results are either positive or negative.

  • A positive LMIA shows that there are currently no Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are willing or available to do the job due to a temporary labour or skill shortage. With a positive LMIA and other documents, a temporary foreign worker can successfully apply for a work permit to come and work in Canada for that employer.
  • A negative LMIA shows that there are currently Canadian citizens or permanent residence who are willing or available to do the job. In this case, a work permit will not be issued to the prospective foreign worker and the employer cannot hire that temporary foreign worker.

In some cases, the results of the LMIA may also be neutral.

It is important to submit a complete LMIA application from the outset in order to avoid delays. Your application could be delayed or refused if you do not provide the correct supporting documents, if you do not respond to the Officer’s inquiries within the specified time, and/or if the job offer does not appear to be genuine.

Who needs an LMIA?

Most employers will need to obtain a positive LMIA prior to hiring a temporary foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. However, there are a select number of jobs that do not require a LMIA.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows employers to hire foreign workers from abroad. Sometimes, employers may also find a qualified foreign worker who is already in Canada, such as a worker who is near the end of their employment contract with another employer. If an employer obtains an LMIA, the employer can offer a job to the foreign worker, and the foreign worker will likely be able to obtain a work permit in Canada upon application.

Obtaining a positive LMIA

Generally, to obtain a positive LMIA, employers must show the following:

  • The employer attempted to recruit Canadian citizens or permanent residents for this job, but failed;
  • The job offer to the temporary foreign worker is genuine;
  • The employer has verified that the temporary foreign worker has the appropriate training, skills, and experience to perform the job duties;
  • The employer is paying the temporary foreign worker a genuine, fair wage that is within acceptable wage ranges;
  • The working conditions are consistent with labour laws and existing collective bargaining agreements; and but not limited to,
  • If applicable, the employer has met previous job offer commitments to temporary foreign workers they have hired in the past.

How long does it take to process an LMIA application and receive a result?

Unfortunately, there are no fixed processing times for LMIA applications. The application could be processed within a few weeks, or it could be processed within a few months. LMIA applications are processed across Canada depending on the stream and work location, and the processing times vary accordingly.

How long is the LMIA valid for?

After the employer submits an LMIA application and receives a positive result, the temporary foreign worker must then complete and submit a work permit application. Please note that the temporary foreign worker’s work permit application is separate from the LMIA application.

Each LMIA has an expiry date. Generally, the work permit application must be received by CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) or CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) before this date. Any work permit applications received after the LMIA expiry date will be refused, and the prospective temporary foreign worker will not be able to work for the employer. This is because once an LMIA is expired, it can no longer be used to support a work permit application. In this case, a new LMIA application, and subsequently if a positive LMIA is issued, a new work permit application will need to be submitted.

Benefits to Employers when hiring a Foreign Worker

Generally speaking, foreign workers are processed through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and are only hired to address a short-term labour need. However, sometimes, temporary foreign workers can become permanent residents of Canada if they meet specific requirements.

It could be advantageous to an employer if the temporary foreign worker eventually becomes a permanent resident. This is especially important if an employer has had previous difficulty filling this position, but they were able to find a good foreign worker employee who has all the required training, skills, and experience to perform the necessary job duties after receiving a positive LMIA. If the temporary foreign worker becomes a permanent resident, the employer will be able to continue the working relationship indefinitely, without applying for a new LMIA each time he or she wants to extend the foreign worker’s job offer.

Furthermore, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is supposed to fill temporary labour shortages. If the Canadian labour market changes in the future and there are no longer a labour shortage in this field, the employer may not be able to obtain a positive LMIA for the same job. Even if the employer wants to extend the foreign worker’s job offer, the foreign worker cannot continue working for the employer without a positive LMIA. Subsequently, the temporary foreign worker will not be able to obtain a work permit to continue working in Canada.

Contact Akrami & Associates

Akrami and Associates has provided legal assistance for many employers to obtain a Positive Labour Market Assessment as well as obtaining the Work Permit and we can help you too!! LMIA applications are not easy to process and can be quite a headache if you don’t have experience in it. When you hire Akrami & Associates we help you arrange the required documentation, support you throughout the whole process and prepare a strong Labour Market Impact Assessment so that it gets approved. If you have any questions as the employer or applicant about the LMIA process and obtaining the Work Permit please don’t hesitate to contact us at 416-477-2545.

With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!!

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