What do you need to know about Labour Market Impact Assessments?

Though some foreign workers are required to have an LMIA to work, others are LMIA-exempt. An LMIA is a document that some employers in Canada are required to have before hiring a temporary foreign worker. This allows the employer to ensure that hiring the foreign worker will have no adverse effects on the Canadian labour market.

What do you need to know about Labour Market Impact Assessments?

The LMIA must be obtained before starting an application for a work permit by a foreign national. For jobs falling under the category of LMIA-exempt jobs, this document is not required to be obtained by the employer to back up a work permit application by a foreign worker. This exemption can be applied to some job categories; the process thus becomes easier for both employers and foreign workers who apply under such categories.

Following recent statements by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada regarding its plan to reduce the temporary resident population in Canada over the next three years, many foreign nationals who intend to work in Canada may have questions about how to speed up the application process. This article will answer the five most common questions foreign workers have about LMIAs, giving crucial guidance for those navigating the rocky waters of working in Canada.

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What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

An LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment, is a document that essentially forms a very important part of the process of hiring foreign workers in Canada. An approved LMIA confirms that an employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker. This is based on an assessment that the hiring will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market, ensuring that no Canadian worker is available to fill the position.

Besides its basic function, the LMIA provides crucial assurance to the Canadian government that employment for a foreign national will be needed and desired. It requires employers to demonstrate that they have made significant efforts to recruit and hire Canadians and that the foreign worker will bring essential skills or labour to the market.

Note: A positive LMIA, which indicates approval, is sometimes referred to as a confirmation letter. This document is an essential part of the work permit application process for many foreign workers, providing them with the necessary authorization to work in Canada.

Determining the need for an LMIA

Employers typically require an LMIA when hiring international employees, unless there is an exception. The necessity of an LMIA would vary based on some factors, among which is an employer generally requires an LMIA to be allowed to hire foreign workers, except where there are exemptions. An LMIA would be needed for a job in light of the following aspects: the position and circumstances of employment at any given point.

Why do I need a new LMIA to extend my work permit?

When applying for a work permit in Canada, a foreign national must ensure their LMIA is valid. While a work permit can be issued for a period longer than the LMIA’s validity, the LMIA must be valid at the time of the work permit application.

If a foreign worker’s initial LMIA expires but the employer wishes to extend the worker’s stay, a new LMIA is required before applying for a new work permit or an extension.

Additionally, whenever an employer applies for a new LMIA, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will automatically consider this as a new application. That is, ESDC will reassess to ensure that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for the job, so it still needs a temporary foreign worker.

Do entrepreneurs have to get an LMIA in Canada?

Entrepreneurs are not obliged to obtain an LMIA to get a Canadian work permit. However, those foreign nationals intending to establish themselves as businessmen in Canada must prove that their enterprises will either:

  • Produce or prolong certain social, cultural, and economic advantages.
  • Establish or continue job opportunities for Canada’s citizens or constant residents.

How can an LMIA increase my CRS points as an Express Entry applicant?

While Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates do not need an LMIA to qualify for this economic immigration program, obtaining an LMIA from their employer can still be advantageous.

A valid job offer supported by an LMIA can earn additional Comprehensive Ranking System points for all Express Entry candidates.

This therefore means that applicants holding an LMIA will have a better chance of receiving an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence from the IRCC.

Recent updates on LMIAs from the IRCC

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

One of the most important changes made by the ministers’ announcement is the restoration of the pre-pandemic standard’s six-month validity for each LMIA. Starting May 1, 2024, this change will get rid of the temporary extension to 12 months, which was applied during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary extension was initially done to ease labour market pressures across the nation. Now, as the situation has shifted a little, the decision has been made to go back to the previous standard of six-month validity for an LMIA.

Labour Market Impact Assessments are a critical part of the Canadian labour market. Whether you’re a hiring employer looking for foreign talent or a foreign worker seeking to work in Canada, you need to understand the differences related to LMIAs. To enhance stress-free recruitment, employers should learn the essentials they should know before they can obtain a labour market impact assessment from this aspect, including the time limits attached to them. This enables both international workers and their bosses to grasp the rules applicable, thereby contributing towards making Canada’s labour market more diverse.

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