LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)
A Canadian employer wishing to hire a foreign worker must first receive government approval before the hiring can take place.
It is in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
The LMIA process is started when an employer offers a job to a TFW when there is no suitable Canadian Citizen or permanent resident for the position.
In order to receive a positive LMIA, the Canadian government employee reviewing an application must determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market.
The requirements in obtaining a positive LMIA are rigorous and the employer must be prepared to follow all the conditions imposed by ESDC/Service Canada. Employers must be prepared to answer all questions about the recruitment process, whether the job offer is genuine and if they have submitted a LMIA in the past and applicant should show that they are qualified in the position being offered.
In general, all Canadian employers must provide evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers. In addition, employers may be inspected for compliance to government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.
Expediting a LMIA
LMIAs will be provided within a 10-business-day service standard for workers in the following occupational categories:
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to skilled trades positions where the wage offered is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage. These positions are essential to the development of major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, and are therefore considered vital to Canadian economic growth.
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the highest-paid occupations that offer wages in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians in a given province or territory where the job is located. This wage level indicated that a temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled in their occupation, and that those skills are difficult to find in the Canadian labour market.
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers requesting temporary foreign workers for a short duration, defined as 120 calendar days or less, in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage. Positions falling under this category include those related to repairs or manufacturing equipment and warranting work.
After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer should send a copy to their identified foreign worker. The positive LMIA must be included in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit.
A single LMIA can be issued for one or multiple employees. In the case of multiple employees, the LMIA will only be issued to employees who will be filling identical positions as identified by the Canadian National Occupation Classification.
There are several instances where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to secure a LMIA.
Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of CDN $1,000 for each request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. There is also be an additional $100 privilege fee on employers charged by Employment and Social Development Canada.
English and French are the only languages that can be determined as job requirements, both for LMIAs and for job vacancy advertisements, unless the employer can prove that another language is otherwise required for the position.
In addition, employers must advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before applying for a LMIA. Towards this end, employers are required to prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods in addition to having posted an advertisement on the Canada Job Bank. Employers must focus advertising efforts on groups of Canadians who are under-represented, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities.
Employers are also required to submit a transition plan to ESDC, along with the application for a LMIA, for high-wage positions. This transition plan should indicate how the company plans to reduce its reliance on temporary foreign workers in the future. Proof of investment in skills training or hiring Canadian apprentices are examples of how employers can prove this. Employers can also demonstrate how they are assisting their high-skilled temporary foreign worker(s) in becoming Canadian permanent residents. If the employer is chosen for an inspection, or if they apply to renew their LMIA, they will be required to report on the progress of the transition plan that they have submitted.
Employers are required to attest to their awareness that they are prohibited from laying off or cutting the hours of Canadian workers working in the same postion(s) as the temporary foreign worker(s) working at the company.