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 ten years of experience in the field. Lethabo holds an MBA in Financing and two certificates in 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 continue to hire foreign workers 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 apply for immigration to Canada and receive a positive LMIA, you may enhance your chances of getting approved (especially under the Express Entry system). This is usually the most straightforward kind of LMIA as the applicant will only enter the job market if they become Canada’s permanent residents. The processing fee of a pure LMIA for Permanent Residency is CAD 0.00 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 CAD 80,000 per year or more). If your position falls under this stream, the government will process your application reasonably quickly.
  • LMIA for high-wage positions: If the Canadian employer offers a job to the applicant and the salary is equal to or higher than the median wage in their province, they need to apply for a High-wage LMIA.
  • LMIA for low-wage positions: If the salary is below the province’s median wage, 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 significant programs: 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 of paying the foreign national), transition plan or labour market benefits plan, employment contract, LMIA application forms, etc.
  • Pay the processing fee and apply to ESDC: The processing fee for most applications is CAD 1000, 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 apply to the immigration authorities to receive the Work Permit.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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