While working in Canada is the goal of many, the things to consider are plenty! In order to work in Canada, a work permit is required. It is important to know that a work permit allows the applicant to work in Canada and is not a visa for arrival. To enter Canada, a visa is also required. There are two types of work permits: Open work permit, and Employer-specific work permit. While an open work permit does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), an employer-specific work permit does. This is due to the fact that an open work permit is not restricted to a specific job like the employer-specific work permit. In other words, the Canada open work permit is not job-specific and allows the individual to work in other fields as well. In contrast, the employer-specific work permit is limited to the individual’s field and requires an LMIA in most cases along with a job offer. In many cases, the employers need an LMIA to be allowed to hire foreign temporary workers.
But what is the point of an LMIA? The assessment informs that there is a need for a temporary foreign worker at a job when no Canadians or permanent residents are available. When this is confirmed, a positive LMIA confirmation letter is issued, showing that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. This needs to be obtained before applying for a work permit. The estimated processing fee for most LMIA applications is 10 days but it could take longer. However, more updated and accurate estimates can be obtained from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). In order to change employers, a new work permit must be obtained. The application fee is $1000.
LMIA applications are completed by the employer/business owner rather than the employee. Therefore, the requirements rely on the business owner looking to hire temporary foreign workers. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses businesses approved for LMIA to make sure that local workforce is indeed not available to carry out this occupation.
Types of LMIA
Not every applicant is the same and with that in mind, LMIA applications are processed through different pathways. The first path is the low-wage LMIA. This is for jobs that have a lower wage in comparison to the average wage of their province. If the average hourly wage in Ontario is $24, an occupation with a wage lower than that would be considered under the low-wage LMIA. On the other hand, the second path is the high-wage LMIA. Like its name, this is for jobs that have a wage above the province’s average. In this case, an occupation with an hourly wage of more than $24 would fall under this category. The biggest difference between the two is that the high-wage LMIA application requires a Transition Plan to reduce reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This is to plan the future facilitation of local workforce for the inquired occupation rather than an international applicant. The next path is the LMIA for Global Talent Stream which splits the path into two categories. Category A is for applicants who are unique individuals with a specialized talent who are referred by the one of the stream’s designated partners. Category B is for highly-skilled foreign workers filling in-demand jobs on the Global Talent Occupations list. The next type of LMIA is for agricultural workers. As the name suggests, this path is for individuals being hired for primary agriculture. Certain criteria must be met to qualify for the status. The work must be done on a farm, nursery, or greenhouse. Furthermore, it must also involve either an operation of agricultural machinery, handling of animals, or planting and plant related tasks. Another type of LMIA also related to agriculture is the LMIA for Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAWP). This category is limited to participating countries which include Mexico and some participating countries. This program is for a maximum of 8 months within a year with a minimum commitment of 40 hours a week. Like the previous category, the activity must be related to primary agriculture. The next type of LMIA is for in-home caregivers. This is for families hiring foreign caregivers for providing care. The care can be provided in a private residence to children, seniors, or persons with certified medical needs. The care must be provided on a full-time basis in a private household by an individual who has met the requirements set by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) or IRCC. LMIAs can also be applied for to improve one’s permanent residency. An applicant can apply for a temporary job while their permanent residency is being processed. This type of LMIA is similar to the dual intent for supporting both permanent residency and work permit.
LMIA and Work Permit
The work permit application can be done by hand or online for the Global Skills Strategy and the International Experience Canada Program. The Global Skills Strategy (GSS) is a faster and enhanced system by offering a 2-week processing time. There are two situations for the GSS depending on the LMIA:
- Situation A:
- Employer has a positive Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA
- Situation B:
- Have an offer exempt from LMIA
- Have an occupation skill type 0 (management) or skill level A (professional)
LMIA and Jobs
Jobs are classified as high or low-wage depending on the salary in comparison to the designated province’s median salary. The biggest difference between the two is that the high-wage LMIA application requires a Transition Plan to reduce reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The list of median hourly wages by province is provided below:
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
The estimated processing fee for certain LMIA applications is 10 days but it could take longer. However, more updated and accurate estimates can be obtained from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
- Global Talent Stream - 21 business days
- Agricultural Stream - 32 business days
- Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program - 17 business days
- Permanent residence stream - 46 business days
- In-home caregivers - 37 business days
- High-wage stream - 54 business days
- Low-wage stream - 62 business days
Fees and Expenses
The LMIA application costs $1000. In order to change employers, a new work permit must be obtained and the application fee is $1000.
Rejection. Refusal. Damage control. These are things you hopefully would not face with hiring an immigration lawyer. Although hiring a lawyer is not required by law, the immigration process is difficult and often confusing. By consulting an immigration lawyer, you can put your mind at ease and let the professionals help you along the journey.