A Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA, is a step that Canadian employers have to take in order to hire foreign workers. The objective of the LMIA is to ensure that Canadian citizens and permanent residents take priority over job applicants from other countries. Additionally, the LMIA determines that the foreign worker, if hired, will be paid a salary and benefits that are commensurate with federal and provincial standards.
Although some exceptions apply, almost all Canadian employers who are attempting to hire workers from other countries must demonstrate that they have attempted to fill the position locally.
The process of obtaining an LMIA is slightly different for high-wage earners (those who are earning more than the median hourly wage for their occupation in the region where they will be working) and for low-wage earners.
Employers who intend to hire high-wage candidates from other countries are required to submit a transition plan detailing the steps they are taking to reduce their reliance on foreign workers. This requirement is in place to ensure that foreign hiring only takes place after the employer has made unsuccessful attempts to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with the right attributes for the position being filled.
Although transition plans are not required in the case of low-wage workers, the government has introduced limits to the number of low-wage workers that employers can bring in from other countries. This cap varies from one employer to the next, but the general rule is that a business with more than ten employees cannot have foreign workers making up more than ten percent of its total workforce. Some low-wage occupations are deemed ineligible for LMIAs due to the number of qualified Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are able to do those jobs.
Moreover, businesses that are employing low-wage foreign workers are required to do the following:
Before employers can hire foreign workers, they are required to advertise the position in such a way that qualified job-seekers in Canada are likely to see the posting and be able to respond to it. The advertising requirements include the following:
Other criteria that the employer must meet include the following:
When the employer has received a positive LMIA, this should be provided to the foreign worker for inclusion in his or her application for a work permit. Note that a single LMIA may be issued for multiple workers in the same occupation.
LMIAs can be issued within ten business days for the following categories: