LMIA - EMPLOYERS
Based on the recent trends in the Canadian labour market, it became evident that Canadian employers are struggling to find skilled talent to fill positions in many industries. In order to fill labour gaps, many employers extend an offer of employment to foreign nationals who do not hold a permanent resident status in Canada, are not Canadian citizens, or reside outside of Canada. This is achieved through applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) and obtaining a favorable approval letter which is used by the foreign national to apply for a work permit. Certain exceptions apply under international agreements that Canada has with other countries.
WHAT IS LMIA?
LMIA is merely an assessment that is completed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to assess whether there will be any impact on the Canadian labour market from hiring a foreign national. In most scenarios, Canadian labour market greatly benefits from employing foreign talent due these most common reasons:
- Foreign nationals fill Canadian labour gaps that are not filled by Canadian nationals or permanent residents;
- It is proven that nationals of Canada simply do not hold the same qualifications in comparison to the foreign national; and
- Skilled foreign nationals contribute to the local labour market by means of transfer of knowledge, thus potentially resulting in job creation or job retention for Canadian nationals and permanent residents.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR LMIA?
As an employer, you need to ensure that you have the capacity to pay the wages to the foreign national and that you are not on the list of Canadian ineligible employers. ESDC will asses the application for an LMIA against the following criteria:
- The submitted application is complete and includes required forms and supporting documents;
- The impact of hiring the foreign national will have on the Canadian Labour Market;
- The salary, benefits and working conditions offered to the foreign national;
- Attempts the employer conducted to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents for the job, how many applied and how many were qualified to execute the job*;
- Whether hiring the foreign national will result in a transfer of knowledge and skills to the existing team members; and
- Whether hiring the foreign national will help create jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The processing of an LMIA varies depending on the stream; it can go anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months. The government fee payable to ESDC is $1,000 CAD per position, meaning that one application for an LMIA can request for multiple positions of the same title and same wage.
WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS AS AN EMPLOYER?
As an employer, you have standard obligations per provincial and federal labour laws. If you are applying for a low-wage stream of LMIA (hourly wage below provincial median wage, check here for more detailed list), you are required to:
1. Cover transportation costs if the temporary foreign worker is outside of Canada;
2. Ensure that suitable and affordable housing is available to the employee; and
3. Ensure that the temporary foreign worker is covered by private, provincial or territorial health insurance from the first day they arrive in Canada.
If all these conditions are met and the interview with ESDC officer goes well, the employer will receive an LMIA approval letter that the foreign national can use to apply for their work permit. LMIA approval letter has a validity of 6 months; if the foreign national does not apply for a work permit within this time, you will need to apply for a new LMIA.
*This is evaluated based on the advertisement period conducted prior to submitting an application for the LMIA. Please note that some streams are exempt from this requirement.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE FOREIGN NATIONAL GETS THEIR WORK PERMIT?
Once the foreign national obtains their work permit, you are now a responsible employer that supports the Canadian economy by filling labour gaps. How does this benefit you? Well, you will benefit in skilled talent retention which in long term can result in growth of your team and allow for knowledge and skill transfer between your employees. Consider an LMIA as an investment to your existing employees, your company, and Canadian labour market. If you are interested in retaining the foreign worker for more than the duration of their work permit, you can empower the foreign national to petition for permanent residence, allowing them to have a chance in making Canada their new home. You would never have to let go of your talent based on the limitations of the work permit duration.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU TO APPLY FOR AN LMIA?
While there is no legal requirement for employers to hire third party to assist with the preparation and submission of an LMIA, we highly encourage to take advantage of experienced professionals who can help you navigate through requirements, application process, and interview with the ESDC officer. If you currently have openings and have a candidate in mind who does not hold a permanent resident status in Canada, you can contact us for a quick 30-minute assessment call.
EMPLOYERS - WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
Are you an employer looking to sponsor a foreign national for an LMIA? Book a call with us today to learn more details about this process and a dedicated member of our team will assist you.