Submitting an LMIA application can be one of the most important steps in hiring temporary foreign workers. Like any immigration process, it can be confusing at first - especially if you’re trying to juggle applications with running your business! Read on to find out what an LMIA is and what you can expect when putting together an application.
What is an LMIA?
LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment.
Simply put, an approved LMIA is a document showing that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job. In order to prove this, it also needs to show that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the work.
LMIAs act as approval from the Canadian Government to hire a temporary foreign worker for a specific job. The worker uses this document when applying for their work permit.
In order to assess how hiring a foreign worker will affect the labour market, the Canadian Government will consider many factors. Some of the things they will want to know include:
Will it fill a labour shortage?
Will hiring a foreign worker create jobs for Canadian workers and permanent residents? Will it help them retain jobs?
How else might it benefit the Canadian labour market?
Could it result in layoffs or reduction of work hours for Canadian workers and permanent residents?
Is there a labour dispute at the work location?
As you complete your application, the information you provide should show that hiring a foreign worker will be a benefit to the Canadian workforce and economy. Of course, this also means showing that you are not hiring a foreign worker when Canadian applicants could fill the position.
Before you apply for an LMIA, you will need to post job advertisements for at least four consecutive weeks in the three month period before you submit your application (except in agriculture, where the requirement is only two weeks). This includes a post on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website. You will also need to advertise in two other places that target underrepresented groups in Canada. This supports your case that no Canadian workers are available and qualified for the position.
Applying for an LMIA gives the employer certain responsibilities. Among other things, employers need to ensure that their workplace is safe and free of discrimination. They must pay temporary foreign workers as much as Canadians in the same occupation and region would make. They also need to act with transparency and provide the Government with accurate information. Finally, they need to prove that they can afford the worker’s wages and are engaged in a legal business.
In order to post your job, assure the Government that a temporary worker will be treated fairly, and ultimately to submit your application, you will need to have a clear idea of the job requirements, responsibilities, and compensation. It’s best to be as specific as possible with these aspects of the role.
Finally, keep in mind that the government charges a $1,000 fee to process your application in most cases. Employers are not allowed to collect or recover this fee from their workers. Some families hiring an in-home caregiver to assist with medical needs or childcare are exempted from the processing fee. Agricultural LMIAs and Permanent Residence Dual Intent LMIAs where the employer supports the PR application of the worker are also exempted.
Do I need an LMIA?
Hiring for most positions will require an LMIA, including many jobs in industries such as agriculture and hospitality that rely heavily on foreign workers.
There are certain exempt positions which do not require an LMIA. Find out if the position you are hiring for is exempt, here. For additional information on whether you will need an LMIA, see the Government of Canada page covering the topic, here.
How long does it take to get an LMIA?
According to Employment and Social Development Canada, average processing times in December 2021 vary according to stream:
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
Any mistakes or missing information in an application can cause significant delays, particularly if the Government responds with a request for more information.
Working with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) can help you complete your application with accurate and complete information the first time. In fact, one of our clients recently had a permanent residence stream LMIA approved after only nine business days!
When you're planning your timeline, it’s important to remember that you will need to post your job advertisements for four consecutive weeks before you submit your LMIA application. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the processing times above are averages, and have been delayed in some cases by events like the Covid-19 pandemic. So, it’s always best to get started early and leave yourself a extra time before you need your new employee to start.
Can I submit my own LMIA application or do I need to hire a consultant?
Employers can submit their applications directly to the Government, without hiring a consultant. However, many opt to work with a consultant to make the process faster and easier. This means that you can spend your time growing your business rather than sifting through government forms for hours!
Licensed consultants can draw on their wealth of experience to help you create the best application for your LMIA, which can decrease processing times. Depending on the consultant you choose to work with, they can also help you with the hiring and recruiting processes. Finally, they can work with your new employee to help them with their own applications and journey to Canada.
If you’re ready to get started on your LMIA application, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants can help! Book a meeting here!
Please note that Government of Canada regulations and processes change often. Please visit the Government of Canada’s website for the most up-to-date information.