What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?
An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Services Canada (ESDC) to employers in Canada. It gives them permission to hire foreign workers.
The LMIA is a required document for certain work permit applications.
Who needs an LMIA?
Employers in Canada who want to hire foreign workers will need to apply for an LMIA. Whereas the worker needs the LMIA to apply for a work permit.
Employers include but are not limited to businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, or individuals.
However, not every employer who wants to hire a foreign worker needs an LMIA. For example, when the worker has a valid open work permit. Another example is when the worker can apply for a work permit without an LMIA.
Some situations where workers can apply for a work permit without an LMIA include Intra-Company Transferees (ICT) and free trade agreements. For more information, please visit our Work Permit service page.
In these cases, you need to provide the worker an Offer of Employment issued by ESDC.
Am I eligible for an LMIA?
You as an employer do not have to register your business in Canada in order to be eligible for an LMIA. This means foreign employers can also apply. However, you must register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
You can be a start-up. The LMIA application does not require that you are in business for a certain amount of time.
Further, for some employers, you need to prove the legitimacy of your business. This means your business offers services or goods in Canada. You must also show that you have reasonable employment needs. However, if you have received a positive LMIA in the past 2 years, you do not need to prove this.
On the other hand, employers that offer sex services or have compliance issues are not eligible for LMIA.
Employers with compliance issues need to fix these issues before applying for an LMIA. These issues include labour disputes or breach of immigration law. Further, it is possible that some employers receive a ban as a result of these issues. Then they must wait until the ban expires. Note that the ban can be permanent.
Lastly, some public policies may also prevent employers from being eligible. For example, an employer whose LMIA was cancelled due to misrepresentation can’t apply in 2 years.
Things to consider when preparing an LMIA application?
First of all, consider how much you are going to pay the foreign worker. The wage determines whether you should apply under the High-Wage or Low-Wage Stream. The requirements for these two are very different.
Secondly, be clear with the job offer. The job you are going to offer must be full-time. Full time means at least 30 hours per week. It must also include detailed job duties and working conditions. Further, The job can either be temporary or permanent.
The job duties will determine the level of the position according to National Occupational Classification (NOC). Note that the job must be a NOC 0, A, B, C, or D position.
Thirdly, you need to advertise and try to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents (PR). This process will take at least 4 weeks. Therefore, you may want to do this as early as possible. Further, your advertisements must include all required information. You also need to invite all eligible candidates for an interview.
It is possible that you have found a potential worker before applying for an LMIA. However, you still need to first recruit Canadian citizens and PRs.
Note that there are additional steps you need to take depending on which stream you apply under.
Specialized LMIA streams
Beside the High-Wage and Low-Wage Streams, there are a number of specialized LMIA streams. These streams target caregivers, agricultural workers, or foreign academics.
Further, if you are going to support the worker’s PR application, you may consider the Express Entry stream. However, the worker must be eligible under Express Entry. We will discuss more about this topic in the following section.
The requirements for these streams are slightly different from either High-Wage or Low-Wage Streams.
Who needs to apply for an LMIA?
Employers need to apply for an LMIA. If you are an employer, you need to gather all the required documents and complete the application. You are also responsible for paying the fees.
Note that you can still apply for an LMIA even if you have not found a potential worker.
When you receive a positive LMIA, you need to give it to the worker. The worker then can apply for a work permit. An LMIA is only valid for 6 months. Therefore, you need to ensure that the worker submits the work permit application before it expires.
Express Entry Stream
If you get an LMIA under this stream, the worker can use it for their PR application. This job offer is also known as arranged employment.
Note that you do not need to offer the worker a permanent position for this stream. However, the job offer must be full-time and for at least one year.
What if the work permit is refused, or the worker quits?
A positive LMIA does not mean the worker will get a work permit. It is possible that their work permit is refused. If this happens, you may still use the LMIA as long as it is valid.
Note that most LMIA would not list the worker’s name. However, if your LMIA specifies the worker’s name, you may have to change the name before re-use your LMIA.
The above rules also apply when the worker quits or is laid off. However, if your LMIA has expired, you will need to apply for a new one.
What do we do?
We work with LGBTQ people and help with their journey to Canada. At LegalRoots, client experience is what we care about. We also create a safe and friendly place for those who wish to discuss their matters with us freely.
Book an initial assessment today or contact us directly.