Many foreign nationals seeking employment in Canada must first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can apply for a work permit from Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC).
Employers can apply for an LMIA to either allow a foreign national to obtain a new work permit, maintain a current employee’s authorization to work, or support a current or prospective employee’s permanent residence application.
The purpose of an LMIA is to allow Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals, while at the same time demonstrating that they could not find a Canadian suitable for the position.
The requirements for a successful LMIA application vary, depending on the particular program under which the LMIA is being submitted. There are streams for high-wage positions, low-wage positions, agricultural workers, caregivers, skilled worker, academics, and permanent resident applicants.
LABOUR MARKET IMPACT ASSESSMENT – EMPLOYERS
In general, employers must advertise for the position they are seeking to fill and in media suitable for the particular stream and position. Advertisements must also target groups that are under-represented in the workforce. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) may require any employer to conduct alternative advertisement and union consultation.
It is important that the employer chooses the correct National Occupation Classification (NOC) for the position and is paying the prevailing wage to the prospective employee. The employer must generally advertise the position before submitting the LMIA. During the advertisement process, the employer must document its recruitment efforts. Proof of the advertisements, recruitment efforts, forms, application fee and business documentation must then be submitted to ESDC. Additional requirements depend on the LMIA program, however, employers cannot require that the foreign national speak a language besides French or English.
LMIA processing usually takes 5-8 weeks, but there is a faster service for positions in the highest wage bracket, for high-demand positions, and for LMIAs submitted in support of a permanent residence application.
Not all employees will require an LMIA before they can apply for a work permit in Canada. In some cases, the employer can instead submit an offer of employment in support of work permit application or hire the worker through specific streams.