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May 7, 2024

Five things you need to know about Labour Market Impact Assessments

Some foreign workers in Canada require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to work in Canada, while others are LMIA-exempt.

An LMIA is a document that some employers in Canada need before hiring a temporary foreign worker. This document must be obtained before the foreign national applies for their work permit. It verifies that a foreign worker will have either a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market.

Note: LMIA-exempt jobs do not require this document for an employer to support a foreign national’s work permit application.

Click here for more general information about LMIAs.

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After the recent announcement that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be reducing Canada’s temporary resident population over the next three years, many foreign nationals who want to work in Canada may be trying to accelerate their journey to Canada.

Accordingly, this article will guide readers through the answers to five common questions that many foreign workers have about LMIAs.

What is an LMIA?

Beyond what was described above, LMIAs are documents that, when approved, confirm that the employer can hire a foreign worker.

Note: A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

How do I know if I need an LMIA?

Unless eligible for an exemption, employers typically require an LMIA to hire foreign workers. LMIA requirements and exemptions depend on a multitude of factors. You can read more about LMIA requirements and exemptions here.

Why do I need another LMIA to extend my work permit?

When a foreign national applies for a work permit in Canada, they must ensure that their LMIA is valid. In other words, although a work permit can be issued for a longer period than the LMIA itself is valid, the foreign worker’s LMIA needs to be valid at the time they apply for a work permit.

If a foreign worker’s initial LMIA expires but an employer seeks to extend the worker’s permit in Canada, a new LMIA will be required before the employee can apply for another work permit or a work permit extension.

In addition, when an employer applies for a new LMIA, it is important to understand that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will begin the assessment process over again and treat the situation as a new application. As part of this new application, EDSC will have the opportunity, if necessary, to ensure there are still no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the position of a temporary foreign worker.

Do I need an LMIA to work in Canada as an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs do not require an LMIA to apply for a work permit in Canada. However, foreign nationals coming to work in Canada as entrepreneurs must prove that the business they intend to operate in Canada will either:

Create or maintain significant social/cultural/economic benefits
Maintain or create jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents

For more information on work permits for entrepreneurs, visit this dedicated webpage.

How can an LMIA help me obtain more CRS points as an Express Entry applicant?

Although Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates do not require an LMIA to be eligible for this economic immigration program, it may be beneficial for these candidates, and all Express Entry candidates generally, to still obtain an LMIA from their employer.

A valid job offer supported by an LMIA will enable the candidate to get additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points as an Express Entry applicant.

Accordingly, candidates who obtain an LMIA can improve their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian PR by IRCC.

Recent IRCC news about LMIAs

In a joint press conference on March 21, Immigration Minister Marc Miller and Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault announced several changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

Among these changes, the two ministers announced that the validity period of each LMIA would return to the pre-pandemic standard of six months. This change will take effect on May 1, 2024.

Prior to this policy revision, Canada temporarily made LMIAs valid for 12 months during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a measure designed to “help ease labour market conditions” across the country.

For more information on this change and other TFWP announcements from March 21, click here.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm