Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) formerly known as a labour market opinion is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. A LMIA is obtained from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA application ensures that Canadians have the first opportunity to apply for vacant jobs, and to assess if hiring a foreign worker will negatively impact the Canadian labour market.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

If the employer needs an LMIA, they must apply for one. To get an LMIA, employers must submit an application and supporting documents (e.g. wage, hours of work, duration of job, proof of advertising, etc.) to ESDC. The employer must show they have a genuine need to hire a foreign worker and that they made reasonable efforts to fill the vacant position with a Canadian worker, but were unsuccessful.

Once an employer gets the LMIA, the worker can apply for a work permit.

To apply for a work permit, a worker needs:

  • a job offer letter,
  • a contract,
  • a copy of the LMIA, and
  • the LMIA number.

In certain situations, an employer may not need to have an LMIA to hire a foreign worker as long as the worker meets the criteria for an exemption.

Jobs exempt from the LMIA:

  • covered by an international agreement like NAFTA or GATS, and non-trade agreements.
  • covered by an agreement between Canada and a province or territory.
  • exempt for “Canadian interests” reasons:
  • “significant benefit” – if your employer can prove you will bring an important social, cultural, and/or economic benefit to Canada. This can include: general: Self-employed engineers, technical workers, creative and performing artists, etc.
  • workers transferred within a company (intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge) – only those that will benefit Canada with their skills and experience
  • workers under Mobilité francophone
  • reciprocal employment – lets foreign workers get jobs in Canada when Canadians have similar opportunities in other countries
  • general (such as professional coaches and athletes working for Canadian teams)
  • International Experience Canada – a work abroad program for youth and young professionals
  • people in exchange programs like professors and visiting lecturers
  • designated by the Minister
  • academics, including researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors (sponsored through a recognized federal program)
  • competitiveness and public policy
  • medical residents and fellows
  • post-doctoral fellows and people who have won academic awards from Canadian schools
  • Charity and religious work (not including volunteers)

Jobs that are exempt from needing an LMIA still need a work permit.

We can assist employers with an LMIA application if they wish to hire a foreign temporary worker. Please contact us for a consultation  to discuss your situation and the process requirements further.

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