Except certain cases, a Canadian employer looking to hire a foreign worker must first obtain a government approval before the hiring can happen. This approval is called the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The approval is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion) is required in most cases for a Canadian employer to hire foreign workers to come to Canada. An LMIA can be positive as well as negative, depending on the conclusion of the ESDC officer who is reviewing the employer’s LMIA application. ESDC stands for Employment and Social Development Canada – the government department responsible for employment and related social development factors in Canada. To receive a positive LMIA, the ESDC officer must be satisfied with the application in that:
Once an employer receives a positive LMIA, the hiring process can be initiated. Employers must take note that even after a positive LMIA and subsequent hiring, they may be inspected by the government to ensure compliance with applicable sections of the regulation.
Note: If you are an employer from Canada’s Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Prince Edward Island), you can now hire foreign workers and professionals without having the need to obtain an LMIA through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). To know more, click here.
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Depending on the wage being offered to the worker, LMIAs are categorized into two:
Canadian employers looking to hire foreign workers under the high wage category need to submit a “transition plan” along with their LMIA application. Workers and professionals whose hourly wage is more than the median hourly wage for a specific occupation in a specific area or region are considered as high wage. This is to ensure that the employer is looking to hire the foreign worker only because no Canadian citizen or permanent resident was available to perform the job, and that the employer gives priority to Canadian citizens and/or permanent resident when hiring for the position under consideration now and in the future.
Note: If you are an employer in Quebec looking to hire managers or skilled workers (Skill level 0, A, and B), then certain occupations fall under the “facilitated” category. To know more, click here.
Canadian employers looking to hire foreign workers under the low-wage category is exempt from the requirement of submitting a transition plan along with their LMIA application. Workers and professionals whose hourly wage is less than the median hourly wage for a specific occupation in a specific area or region are considered as low wage. Though the employers are exempt from the transition plan requirement, they will need to comply with other criteria, including:
Whilst an LMIA is required, certain categories of occupations are exempted from the LMIA advertising requirements in Quebec. These are known as “facilitated” LMIAs. Occupations that fall under the high-skilled category are eligible for facilitated LMIA. They are:
Also, under the facilitated LMIA process in Quebec, the “transition plan”, which is by default a mandatory requirement for all high wage employments is waived off when the LMIA is applied for a candidate’s hiring for the first time. However, the transition plan is required if an LMIA is required for the 2nd time onwards for the candidate (if applying for the same occupation).
To learn more about Quebec LMIA, click here.
Median Hourly Wages Chart
|Province or Territory||Wage (C$ per hour, as of 29 April 2017)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||20.31|
|Prince Edward Island||18.44|