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Hire Temporary Foreign Workers To Fill Labour Shortages

What Is A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment is a document that an employer in Canada may need to receive prior to hiring a foreign worker. When a Canadian employer is seeking to hire a foreign worker, it must first be determined if an LMIA is needed or if the position is LMIA-exempt before applying for a work permit.

LMIA applications must be submitted by an employer, not the employee.

There are two main LMIA streams: the high-wage and the low-wage workers stream. Other streams include dual intent LMIA, LMIA for in-home caregivers, LMIA for agricultural workers, and others.

LMIA requirements are different according to the province and nature of work.

Canadian Employers Looking To Obtain An LMIA

For employers looking to obtain a positive LMIA through employment and social development Canada (ESDC), the application process will be different for each employer looking to recruit foreign workers. 

The LMIA process will differ for each employer depending on the recruitment stream you will be hiring through.

Worker Streams

High-wage workers

Low-wage workers

Workers through the seasonal agricultural worker program

Workers through the agricultural stream

Permanent residence (except Quebec)

Caregiver (Only from inside Canada except for Quebec)

Employer LMIA Application Process

1. Identify your particular company requirements

2. Begin employer requirements and submit the LMIA

3. Search and recruit temporary foreign workers

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5. Worker arrives to Canada

4. Apply for a work permit

LMIA Requirements For Canadian Employers Looking To Recruit Foreign Workers

Each specific recruitment stream utilized by employers to hire temporary foreign workers will have it's own specific recruitment requirements, all streams will have general requirements that must be met in securing a successful LMIA, including:

  • Stream: Employer Employer eligibility requirements will be determined by the stream, there are 8 main streams.

  • Services: The employer must provide goods or services to the public.

  • Legitimate Job Offer: The employer has presented a legitimate job offer to the worker.

  • Wages and Working Conditions: Wages and working conditions are similar to the ones offered to Canadians.

  • Recruitment Efforts: Employers have held a fair recruitment process with Canadian workers to ensure minimal impact on Canadian job seekers already in the country (Some exceptions may apply in Quebec).

  • Business Legitimacy: An employer must have a legitimate business that has not laid off any employees in the 12 months preceding to the application.

Employers must:

  • Fill out an LMIA application form for high-wage positions

  • Pay the LMIA processing fees

  • Show proof of business legitimacy

  • Create and follow a transition plan or support the foreign workers for permanent residency

  • Demonstrate proof of recruitment

Employer LMIA Exceptions

In some cases, an Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not necessary. The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire temporary workers without an LMIA.

Workers that are eligible for the IMP include:

  • Those entering Canada as part of trade treaties, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

  • Those entering Canada on an open work permit.

  • Those entering Canada as intra-company transferees.

In order to hire under the Global Talent Stream (GTS) an employer will still need an LMIA, however, in order to make the process easier and faster, some steps are taken out and processing times tend to be much shorter.

In order to be eligible for the Global Talent Stream, a Canadian employer must fit one of two categories; Category A – Designated Partner Referral, or Category B – In-Demand Occupation.

LMIA Application Processing Times

Service Canada is committed to providing all Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) applicants with a positive client experience, and understands that the program, through its various delivery streams, is key to addressing labour shortages in Canada, and meeting the needs of Canadian businesses.

Processing times of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications can vary depending on the number of applications received by the TFWP. While Canada is committed to processing all LMIA applications as quickly as possible, you can help reduce processing times by:

  • Ensuring your LMIA application is complete before submitting

  • Ensuring that the signing authority has signed all required documents

Application Type

Average Processing Time

Low-wage stream
High-wage stream
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In-home caregiver
Permanent residence stream
Seasonal agriculture worker
Agricultural stream
Global talent stream

* Processing times will vary depending on the amount of applications being processed by Service Canada and the type of application.

LMIA Application Fees

All LMIA application are subject to a fee of $1000 CAD per worker, all fees must be covered by the employer not the temporary foreign worker.

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