Canada, the second largest country on this planet, is known for its stunning natural landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, its commitment to multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion.

A diverse and thriving country with a strong economy, Canada makes it an attractive destination for businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. However, to bring in foreign workers to fill job vacancies, employers must navigate the complex process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). 

An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. It is an important step in bringing foreign workers to Canada and is required for most types of work permits. 

A business owner in Canada who intends to hire foreign workers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Here we will explore the LMIA process for businesses in Canada and provide insights and guidance on how to navigate this process successfully.

What is an LMIA?

As previously mentioned, an LMIA is a document issued by ESDC that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. The LMIA aims to ensure that hiring a foreign worker will not hurt the Canadian workforce.

When is an LMIA required?

In most cases, employers wishing to hire foreign workers must obtain an LMIA. However, there are a few exceptions, such as if the worker is coming to Canada under the International Mobility Program, which includes categories such as NAFTA or the Global Talent Stream. 

Types of LMIA

There are two types of LMIA – Standard and Global Talent. The Standard LMIA is for most employers who want to hire foreign workers, while the Global Talent LMIA is for employers who wish to hire highly skilled foreign workers in certain occupations. The Global Talent Stream aims to expedite the LMIA process for employers in specific industries requiring skilled foreign workers to fill jobs Canadians cannot.

Process to Obtain an LMIA

The process of obtaining an LMIA can be lengthy and complex, so it is important to plan and start the process early. Here are the general steps –

  1. Determine the job offer and wage – The employer must determine the job offer and salary that will be offered to the foreign worker. The wage must be comparable to Canadian workers in the same occupation and geographic area.
  2. Advertise the job – The employer must advertise the job in Canada for a specified period, usually four weeks. Advertising the job is important to demonstrate that no Canadian workers are available to fill the position.
  3. Apply for an LMIA – After the job has been advertised, the employer can apply for an LMIA. The employer must provide detailed information about the job and why they could not hire a Canadian worker.
  4. Pay the fee – A fee for applying for an LMIA must be paid when submitting the application.
  5. Wait for the decision – It can take several weeks or even months for ESDC to decide on an LMIA application. 

Important Considerations

Here are some important things worth keeping in mind when applying for an LMIA –

  1. Compliance – Employers who hire foreign workers must comply with all federal and provincial/territorial laws and regulations, including labor standards, occupational health and safety, and employment equity.
  2. Immigration – An LMIA is not an immigration document. The foreign worker must still apply for a work permit or other immigration documents to enter Canada and work legally.
  3. Retention – Employers who hire foreign workers are responsible for retaining all documents related to the worker’s employment, including the LMIA, job offer, and any supporting documentation.

Advertising Requirements

To obtain an LMIA, employers must demonstrate that they have made significant efforts to hire Canadians. This usually means advertising the job on three platforms: online job boards, industry associations, or newspapers. The job must be advertised for a specific period, usually four weeks, and the employer must provide proof of the advertising efforts when they apply for the LMIA.

Labour Market Opinion

Before the LMIA program, the ESDC used to issue Labour Market Opinions (LMOs). LMOs were used to assess the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market, and they were similar in function to LMIA. However, in 2014, the LMIA program was introduced to replace the LMO program.

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Wage Requirements

Employers must offer foreign workers a wage comparable to Canadians in the same occupation and geographic area. This condition has been put forth to ensure that foreign workers are not taking jobs away from Canadians or driving down wages in Canada. Employers must also provide comparable benefits to those offered to Canadian workers.

Duration of LMIA

The duration of an LMIA depends on the job and the worker. An LMIA is usually valid for six months from the date it is issued. However, if the employer hires a worker under the Global Talent Stream, the LMIA is valid for two years.

Impact on Permanent Residency

If a foreign worker is hired through the LMIA program, it may be possible for them to apply for permanent residency in Canada. The LMIA is often a necessary step in obtaining permanent residence, but it does not guarantee permanent residency. The worker must still meet all the other requirements for permanent residency, such as language proficiency and education credentials.

Obtaining an LMIA is necessary for many employers wishing to hire foreign workers in Canada. The process can be complex and time-consuming, but working with an experienced immigration lawyer will help you big time. In addition, employers must also ensure that they comply with all laws and regulations. With careful planning and attention to detail, employers can successfully navigate the LMIA process and hire the workers they need to grow their businesses. We can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today, and let us assist you in the best possible way.

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