LMIA is a short acronym for Labour Market Impact Assessment.
The application’s main purpose is to assess eligible Canadian business owners/employers who want to hire a temporary foreign worker (herein after TFW). Therefore, they need to apply for LMIA under their businesses to sponsor the TFW’s work permit.
Once LMIA is approved, then the TFW can use this to apply for their work permit.
The type of work permit received by using LMIA is called “LMIA-based Work Permit”, or “Closed Work Permit” because the TFW who has this work permit is only allowed to work for that particular company, and not anywhere else.
In some cases, if TFW is eligible, then he/she may apply for a permanent residence application through a federal program called, Express Entry, which will be covered in another book.
LMIA is assessed by a government body called Service Canada. The main intention of assessing the Canadian business is to ensure it actually has a need to hire the temporary foreign worker (herein after TFW), has enough financial and organizational capacity to hire the foreign worker, and most importantly, the business has shown recruitment efforts to hire local Canadians and Permanent Residents first before giving an opportunity to a foreign worker.
As a result, the LMIA application is constituted of information requirements that will prove the businesses’ TFW need assessment, financial information, organizational structure, and recruitment effort.
There are four types of LMIAs.
All LMIAs expire in 6 months after the approval date. This indicates that the employer must ensure the foreign worker to use this LMIA within 6 months by applying for a work permit, or permanent residency.
The application processing times varies depending on what kind of LMIA application the employer files for. On average, Regular LMIA takes 8 months to 12 months, PR Support LMIA and PR Only LMIA takes 1 to 3 months, and Owner-Operator LMIA takes 2 weeks to 2 months after submission.
For each LMIA application except PR Only LMIA, the government fee of CAD $1,000 is charged by Service Canada. Moreover, for each LMIA application except Owner-Operator LMIA, job advertisement is needed.
Lastly, LMIA application should be applied under either a “stream for high-wage positions” or “stream for low-wage positions” depending on the wage of the job position. If the job’s median hourly wage is less than its province or territory’s median hourly wage, then it is considered as a low-wage job. If it is higher, then it is defined as a high-wage job. The median hourly wage by each province and territory is updated often, thus it is essential to double check the government website before preparing the application. See the table below for more information.