LMIA Process and Types

Lethabo is a senior risk analyst at a famous company in Soweto, South Africa. Lethabo masters English and German languages. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field. Lethabo holds an MBA in Financing and two certificates in the field of risk management from two renowned institutions in Germany and the United States. A financial institution in Canada has recently offered Lethabo a senior risk analyst position at their company’s headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta. They know they have to get an LMIA before initiating the work permit application, but they do not know where to start, the fees involved, and the process of an LMIA application.

LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment. When an employer receives a positive LMIA, it means they may higher a foreign work for the position they are offering without negatively impacting the Canadian labour market. It is good to know, the organization that develops the LMIA process and reviews LMIA applications is Employment and Social Skills Development Canada (ESDC) also known as Service Canada. LMIA was formerly known as LMO or Labour Market Opinion.

Types of LMIA

Interestingly, LMIA comes into different types. ESDC in consultation with IRCC decides on the types of LMIA. We can currently identify the following types of LMIA.

  • LMIA for permanent residency: If you are applying for immigration to Canada and you receive a positive LMIA, you may enhance your chances of getting approved (especially under the Express Entry system). This is usually the easiest kind of LMIA as the applicant will enter the job market only if they become permanent residents of Canada. The processing fee of a pure LMIA for Permanent Residency is $0.00 CAD at the moment.
  • LMIA for Global Talent Stream: This LMIA is limited to certain positions (mostly in the IT sector) that demand highly talented individuals. The salary must also be high (usually $80,000 CAD per year or more). If your position falls under this stream, the government will process your application fairly quickly.
  • LMIA for high-wage positions: If the Canadian employer offers a job to the applicant and the salary is equal or higher than the median salary of that position in their province, they need to apply for a High-wage LMIA.
  • LMIA for low-wage positions: If the salary is below the median wage of the province, the job is a low-wage job. Getting an LMIA for these kinds of positions is extremely difficult.
  • LMIA for agricultural workers: ESDC issues LMIA for agricultural workers under two major programs, namely: Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and Agricultural Stream.

LMIA Process

Depending on the type of LMIA you may need to take some or all of these steps to apply for an LMIA to ESDC and eventually get a work permit:

  • Try to hire local employees and show the Canadian employer has failed to succeed: Recruitment efforts could include advertising on job search websites, local media, internal hiring, approaching underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities, vulnerable youths, newcomers, or indigenous people.  The employer also needs to review the resumes and invite people to job interviews.
  • Prepare documents and submit them to ESDC: The documents could include proof of recruitment, business legitimacy (i.e. the business is active and capable to pay the salary of the foreign national), transition plan or labour market benefits plan, employment contract, LMIA application forms, etc.
  • Pay the processing fee and submit the application to ESDC: The processing fee for most applications is $1000 CAD but some exceptions may apply (e.g. the processing fee for permanent residence LMIA is $0.00 if the foreign national does not intend to work for the employer before becoming a permanent resident of Canada)
  • Review by an ESDC officer: An ESDC officer reviews the application. They may accept or refuse the application immediately, but in many cases, they call the employer and ask more questions or request more documents before finalizing their decision.
  • Submit the Work Permit application: If ESDC issues a positive LMIA, you need to submit an application to the immigration authorities to receive the Work Permit.

Some relevant articles:

If you wish to visit or move to Canada or if you have encountered any issues with the immigration authorities, you may fill out our free assessment form or book a consultation session to assess your potential opportunities or offer you immigration, visa, or citizenship advice.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting

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This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals or organizations) is coincidental.


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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.