LMIA-Based Work Permits for IT Workers

What is an LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA, is usually a prerequisite to obtaining a work permit. It indicates whether the applicant’s would-be employer first made reasonable attempts to fill the position before hiring a worker from another country.

In industries for which there is a lot of local available skill, employers are not likely to receive a positive LMIA. Applicants who wish to receive a work permit in these fields face significant barriers to success.

How does the LMIA process relate to IT workers?

As recently as two decades ago, information technology was synonymous with computer programming. In recent times, the definition of IT has expanded exponentially to incorporate many aspects of the way we live and work. As our personal and professional lives become more and more dominated by technology, our need to skilled IT professionals continues to grow.

As a result, the IT industry has evolved rapidly over the last twenty years. The technologies and equipment that are used require a high degree of skill, and mastering them can involve a steep learning curve. Companies that are reliant on IT and technology often find it worth their while to employ workers who are already in possession of the specialist knowledge needed, instead of spending the time and money to train their own employees.

Due to the highly specialized nature of a lot of this work, businesses can struggle to find Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are able to fill these positions. In these cases, the LMIA and subsequent work permit application have a high likelihood of success.

One of the things many employers look for when hiring foreign workers is the likelihood of the worker successfully assimilating into the culture of the company, forming the necessary connections with coworkers, and learning “how things are done” in Canada. For many occupations in which the processes and procedures vary widely from place to place, this is a valid consideration. However, information technology is fairly universal. Although there are minor differences, IT and technology best practices are not regionalized: they are the same no matter where you go.

What this means is that foreign workers in the information technology sector face less of a learning curve when they start a new job. They can start being productive immediately, and this makes them attractive to Canadian employers, and increasing the employer’s likelihood of securing a positive LMIA.

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