A vast majority of Canadian work permits require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), in order to hire a temporary foreign worker. The LMIA was formally called the Labor Market Opinion (LMO).

How does the newer LMIA work?

Well, basically, if a Canadian employer wants to hire a temporary foreign worker to work in Canada then they have to submit a complete, accurate and properly filled-in Labour Market Impact Assessment application form. This form is submitted to the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada.

The purpose of the LMIA is to assess the probable impact of hiring the temporary foreign worker to the Canadian job market. If the assessment shows that there will not be any significant negative impact, then the temporary foreign worker can apply for a work permit with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The next question that you are probably wondering about is how you can get an LMIA as a temporary foreign worker?

The process has to be initiated by the employer offering the job to you and this process should only be initiated when there is no suitable Canadian that can fill the position in question. After the employer files the LMIA application a rigorous process then ensues headed by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada to ensure that compliance to all conditions has been met by both you and your employer. You will need to prove to the IRCC that you qualify for the job position being offered by the employer.

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An LMIA is an employer-driven process because it is initiated by the employer in the first place and not by the employee. The purpose of the LMIA is to ensure that the foreign worker about to be recruited for a job position in Canada is not going to negatively impact any Canadian.

The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) ensures that all is above board and looks closely at information that the employer provides including:
  • All job vacancies must be advertised at least four(4) weeks before applying for the LMIA
  • At least two different recruitment methods in addition to the advertisement for the job position must be used
  • Information about the position on offer
  • The number of Canadians that have applied for the position
  • The number of Canadians interviewed for the position. And
  • An explanation about why the Canadians that were interviewed were not hired

When an employer applies for an LMIA for a high wage employment position they will also be required to provide a transition plan to the ESDC. The plan should basically provide a way forward that will demonstrate how the employer plans to reduce reliance on foreign workers. Additionally, the employer should provide proof that they are investing in skills training for Canadian’s. Proof that the employer is to assist the temporary foreign skilled worker to become a Canadian permanent resident can also qualify as part of the transition plan. Providing a report on the progress of the transition plan may also be required.

Employers should also be aware of certain criteria that affect whether or not the ESDC process an LMIA application or not. For example, he LMIA will not be processed if the listed occupation is categorized as Skill level D in the National Occupation Classification.

Typically an employer needs an LMIA in order to support a job offer to a temporary foreign worker. However, there are a few cases when this rule does not apply. Essentially, some jobs are exempt from an LMIA.

For ‘Express Entry’ jobs the employer isn’t required to apply for an LMIA under the following conditions:

  • If you have put in at least one full year of full-time work for your employer
  • If you have a valid job offer
  • If you have a valid work permit for Canada exempt from an LMIA due to a federal-provincial agreement, an international agreement or if the job is in the ‘Canadian interests’ category

International agreements that can exempt the need for an LMIA include; NAFTA or GATS and non-trade agreements. This can include trader’s professionals and investors.

As for federal-provincial agreements, this includes ‘significant investment’ projects’. While for “Canadian interests” reasons, an LMIA may be exempt if, for example, the employer can prove that the foreign worker will bring an important cultural, social or economic benefit to Canada.

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International companies can in some cases temporarily assign their qualified foreign employees to Canada for different reasons. For example, if there is a need to expand Canadian exports, if there is a need to enhance managerial effectiveness, and if there is a need to enhance business competitiveness in foreign markets. Inter company transfers are generally steered by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and certain general provisions. They are also guided by provisions of international trade agreements like the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), for citizens of the signatory countries.

Provisions of international trade agreements like General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and NAFTA provide for reciprocal temporary entry for business persons. Those eligible under the provisions of such agreements will not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) but will still require a work permit.

For foreign candidates that qualify for the International Experience Canada (IEC) pool(s), they do not need an LMIA but they will however still require a work permit. In order to participate in the International Experience Canada (IEC) pool, the candidate will need the following requirements:

  • Their country of origin must have an agreement with Canada that allows them to apply for an IEC work permit
  • They may be able to use a Recognized Organization.
  • They can choose from one of three travel or work experiences including: Working Holiday, International Co-op Internship and Young Professionals.

You may also be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) without the need to have an LMIA if you want to work in Canada after completing your post-graduate studies in Canada. To apply for the PGWP, you need to follow three key steps including:

  • Getting an application package that includes an application guide and all the necessary forms that you need to fill in
  • You then need to pay application fees including the standard Work Permit fee and the “Open Work Permit Holder” fee
  • Finally, you need to submit your application to a mailing address that is found in the application package.

For certain students, working off campus is allowed as long as they work not more than 20 hours every week on a normal academic school session and full time if on a regular campus break. These conditions only apply under the following circumstances:

  • If the student holds a valid student permit.
  • If the student does full-time study in a designated college or university.
  • If the study program is at least six months in duration and must lead to a degree, certificate or diploma.
  • The program enrolled in is a vocational, professional or post-secondary academic training program offered in Quebec (not necessarily forQuebec immigration purposes).
  • They are compliant with all the terms of their study permit including conditions for engaging in off-campus work.

As a person currently working in Canada and awaiting the results of a permanent residence application to live in Canada, you may apply for a bridging work permit that will allow you to keep working as you await the results of your permanent residency application.

In such a situation, your current work permit must be not more than 4 months before it expires. Some of the other conditions for qualification include the following:

  • You must currently be in Canada,
  • You must apply for an ‘Open Work Permit’ in your work permit application form
  • You must apply under specific programs including; Provincial Nominee Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program and such.

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A vast majority of Canadian work permits require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA),

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