An LMIA work permit is a temporary work permit that allows those from other countries to work in Canada. There are a number of steps in applying for an LMIA permit including steps the potential employer must take to prove hiring a foreign national for the job won’t adversely impact Canadian workers. The LMIA program is a way for Canadian employers to react to a shortage of suitable employees within the country by hiring immigrant workers.
Even with a job offer, in most cases the work permit must be in place in order for you to do the job you’ve been hired for and in most cases that job offer has to be in place before the application process can begin. If this is your situation, let us know and we can help.
These types of work permits specify the employer the foreign worker will be employed by and the duration of the work period. The Canadian employer must submit a job offer to the foreign worker complete with the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that supports the claim that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents to do the job. Wage determines applicability within the program instead of fit within the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The LMIA program is jointly administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), with ESDC taking the lead.
There is also an International Mobility Program within the LMIA program. This is generally based on agreements with other countries, such as trade agreements and other programs. In this case a LMIA is not required and the lead department on immigration is IRCC. Work permits can be employer-specific or open.
If you are already in Canada applying for the work permit, you (or your spouse) must be in Canada on a valid study or work permit. You must also have graduated from a designated educational institution in Canada, have applied for your permanent residency or have asked for refugee status.
If you are applying from outside of Canada, your visa office in that country can assist you with the details and requirements needed for a work permit.
The LMIA Process:
Employers begin the process by receiving approval from the government of Canada to hire a foreign worker. This is the LMIA. A positive LMIA results when the government of Canada determines hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on Canadian workers. In other words, no Canadian workers can be passed over in favour of a foreign worker and must prove they took efforts to find qualified Canadian citizens to fill a role.
There are “high-wage” and “low-wage” classifications in the LMIA process and certain stipulations apply depending upon the classification. Jobs under the median wage are considered low-wage, adversely, those above the median are high-wage.
A 10-day service standard is possible for those jobs in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians. The skills demanded for the job must be proven to be difficult to find in the Canadian market. Short-duration workers in repairs, manufacturing equipment and warranting work are also eligible for the 10-day service standard.
If a job is high-wage, employers must submit the LMIA along with plans to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time.
If the job is low-wage, there is no need to submit a transition plan, but there is a cap of the number of low-wage workers an employer can hire. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA will have to meet the cap of 10% of their workforce being foreign workers. Employers must also pay for roundtrip transportation for the worker as well as ensure there is affordable housing, provide health insurance (until the worker is eligible), register the employee with workplace safety and provide an employer/employee contract.
Additionally, unemployment rates in provinces and territories determine which regions are eligible for low-wage occupations in certain sectors.
If an LMIA is in a highest-demand occupation, a 10-day service standard is possible. This is because these jobs are considered vital to the country’s economic growth.
After receiving a positive LMIA, employers must send a copy to the foreign worker and must be included in the workers application for a temporary work permit.
Employers must also advertise the job vacancy across Canada for at least four weeks before applying for the LMIA. They must prove they have used various methods to secure a Canadian employee before pursing an LMIA.
Aside from these rules, other general requirements include that you must:
- Prove that you will leave the country after your work permit expires.
- Not work for any employers who have failed to comply with the employment standards or businesses who engage in the sex trade.
- Get a security and background check and submit the police clearance certificate.
- Have a medical exam.
- Have enough funds to support yourself and your family members for the entire stay in Canada.