Understanding LMIA in the year 2021

Learn more about LMIA and working in Canada in 2021

When Canadian employers need skilled foreign workers to fill their job vacancies, the procedure for finding and inviting them to work in Canada involves important steps like LMIA. With LMIA, the employers make a statement that is acknowledged by giving the reason for foreigners’ recruitment was due to the dearth of skilled candidates in Canada.

The LMIA is a step taken in the right direction to ensure that foreign workers aren’t given jobs at the cost of native people missing the job opportunities. After applying for LMIA, the employer waits for a document of approval from Employment & Social Development Canada called the positive LMIA. This document confirms that hiring a foreign worker is necessary due to the non-availability of Canadians to fill the open job positions.

Once the employer gets LMIA, the potential foreign worker can file an application for a work permit as long as such candidate holds the letter of job offered, a contract with the employer, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number. This is necessary as per Canada immigration procedure.

For each worker, the cost for applying for LMIA is $1000. Job positions under the new LMIA system are classified into low-wage and high-wage. Low-wage jobs are those that have a salary that is below the median wage in the province where the job is done. High-wage jobs have salaries that are as much or above the median wage.

The processing times for LMIA can vary from a couple of weeks to few months. Certain LMIA application will be processed under 10 business days as undertaken by ESDC. These job categories are:

  • Highest-paid jobs (top 10%)
  • Jobs in highest demand (skilled trades)
  • Jobs of short duration (120 days or less)

Here’s more about the types of LMIAs.

Low-wage LMIAs

  • Employers are allowed to hire a foreign worker for low-wage jobs only for up to a year at a time if he gets a positive LMIA.
  • Not more than 10% of the workforce should constitute low-wage foreign workers in organizations employing over 10 employees. There will be transitional measures taken on employers whose workers don’t obey this new rule.
  • Employers in the accommodation and food service sector as well as the retail trade sector will no longer be allowed to apply for LMIAs for jobs in 10 lower-skill occupations.
  • Employers must complete longer application forms, pay a higher application fee, and keep detailed records related to their recruitment activity.

High-wage LMIAs

Comparing to the old Labor Market Opinion (LMO), which is the Canadian government’s permission for hiring foreigners, there are changes made to the new LMIA for high-wage jobs. They are as follows:

  • The application forms are more extensive now.
  • It’s now required of the employers to complete a ‘transition plan’. Such a plan will explain how the employer intends to fill the job currently held by the temporary foreign worker into permanent recruitment.
  • Employers must now keep records in more detail while the foreign worker stays in Canada.
  • Certain applications will be more promptly processed. The following classes of employees will get decisions on LMIA in 10 business days:
    • Highly-paid workers paid salaries in the top 10% of Canadian earnings
    • Foreign workers in skilled trades
    • Workers arriving to work for 120 days or lesser
  • There may be a new time limit imposed for high-wage work permits, which has not been announced yet.

In certain cases, Canadian employers can recruit TFWs without an LMIA. These employees include:

  • Workers who come under the NAFTA agreement
  • Participants of International Experience Canada (aka holders of Working Holiday permit)
  • Intra-Company Transferees
  • PGWP holders
  • Holders of bridging Open Work Permit
  • Those who have taken part in certain academic exchanges like visiting professors and post-doctoral fellows
  • Participants of programs like those above that are now classified as ‘International Mobility Programs’

And of course, the workers need to pass an English test to prove their proficiency in the language. This could be IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF.

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LMIA – Labor Market Impact Assessment

ESDC – Employment and Social Development Canada

TFW – Temporary Foreign Worker

PGWP – Post Graduate Work Permit

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