A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is the permission required by an employer to hire a foreign worker. Formerly called a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) it is an assessment by Service Canada of the impact hiring the temporary foreign worker (TFW) may have on the Canadian labour market.
The LMIA ensures that all Canadians have first opportunity for the job, the company offer of employment is genuine, and the skills, wages and working conditions are consistent with Canadians and permanent residents in equivalent jobs.
The LMIA process provides Service Canada officers with information on the employer, the position being recruited, all efforts made in recruiting Canadians for the job, and if available details on identified candidates.
The “LMIA” assesses the impact hiring the foreign worker may have on Canada’s labour market and on Canadian jobs.
If approved, Service Canada (SC) provides a “positive LMIA approval letter” to the employer. The worker uses the letter in applying for the work visa.
Some categories of work do not require LMIAs pursuant to international agreements, such as NAFTA and/or Government policy.
Before applying for an LMIA, thoroughly review all new program requirements and processes and select the best option(s) to fit your business and human services strategy.
Occupations Generally Requiring a LMIA
In almost all cases employers hiring a foreign agriculture worker (such as swine technician) require a LMIA.
♦ Seasonal Agricultural Workers
Requests to hire seasonal agricultural workers from any foreign country will require a LMIA.
♦ Agriculture Stream
Requests to hire foreign workers in occupations in either the higher and lower skilled agriculture stream categories in most cases require a LMIA.
♦ Stream for Lower-Skilled Occupations
Requests to hire foreign workers in occupations that usually require at most a high school diploma or job-specific training will likely require a LMIA.
♦ Stream for Higher-Skilled Occupations
Requests to hire skilled foreign workers (i.e., in high-skilled occupations) usually require an LMIA. Some categories of work DO NOT require a LMIA.
Before applying, review the TFW program as each stream has specific LMIA application forms and directives.
1. Named LMIA
Application of a LMIA where names and details of candidates are known is termed a “named LMIA”.
The LMIA application is submitted with the names and details of selected candidate(s).
Named LMIAs reduce overall processing time by eliminating the additional follow-up step requiring names to be forwarded to Service Canada.
Where names are provided Service Canada may issue a positive decision or “Named LMIA authorization letter” to the employer.
Following LMIA approval and prior to LMIA expiry, up to 50% of the names can be substituted on the LMIA. This may be required where a candidate is no longer available, has declined the job offer, or is not qualified for a permit. Where there is only one name on the LMIA, that name may be substituted.
A Named LMIA is valid for a period of 6 months from the date of issue noted on the approval letter.
2. Unnamed LMIA
Application of a LMIA without candidate name(s) and details is termed an “Unnamed LMIA”.
The Unnamed LMIA application is submitted without the name(s) and details of selected candidates, as candidates may not have been recruited or selected at the time of the LMIA application.
Where no candidate name(s) are on the application, Service Canada may issue a positive decision or “Unnamed LMIA authorization letter” to the employer.
Unnamed LMIA applications can increase the overall LMIA processing time, as Service Canada ultimately requires the name(s) on the LMIA. Names can be added while the LMIA is in processing.
Where name(s)s are submitted after a positive “Unnamed LMIA authorization letter”, a revised “Named LMIA authorization letter” is subsequently issued to the employer.
Following approval and prior to expiry, up to 50% of the names can be substituted on the LMIA where a candidate is no longer available, has declined the job offer or is not approved for a permit. Where there is only one name, that name may be substituted.
An Unnamed LMIA is valid for a period of 6 months from the date of issue on the final approval letter.
► Check the ESDC website if applying for steps an “Unnamed LMIA”.
► To determine if you can apply for an unnamed LMIA before a candidate is selected check here
3. Positive LMIA
The term “positive LMIA” is the authorization granting the right to recruit a worker under the TFWP.
The positive Named LMIA is valid for 6 months from the date of issue during which time:
The employer must notify the temporary foreign worker (TFW) that the LMIA was approved.
The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA letter to the TFW with an employment contract signed both by the employer and TFW.
Depending on the job and source country the TFW must apply for a work visa/permit at the CIC visa office in the source country, the port of entry into Canada, or from within Canada if legally permitted.
Any employer not providing the name of the foreign worker at the time of application for a LMIA, must continue to advertise and recruit Canadians and permanent residents until a foreign worker is selected.
Applicants receive a letter from Service Canada confirming the LMIA approval. For privacy reasons, the letter will not include the names of the TFWs. However, it provides specific details the officer has approved about the job offer, such as the wages, working conditions and occupations as well as a system file number. The names of the workers will appear in Annex B, which is intended for the employer's records only, and is NOT to be shared with the TFW, as it is not required for the purposes of applying for a work permit.
Failure to identify and name a worker on the positive LMIA within the 6 months will deem the LMIA invalid. If the employer still wishes to hire a TFW the employer must submit a new LMIA application including meeting advertising requirements again.
The foreign worke applies for a work visa / permit at a Canadian visa office abroad, at the port of entry into Canada, or from a CIC office within Canada if legally permitted.
A positive LMIA does not guarantee a work visa/permit will be issued. CIC or CBSA (Border Services) officers can refuse work visa/permit applications and ultimately entry to Canada if they determine that the foreign worker does not meet the qualifications required by the LMIA, the job offer is not genuine, or the worker is otherwise inadmissible to Canada.
4. Negative LMIA
A “negative LMIA” is the notice of a negative opinion on the LMIA application and subsequent rejection of authorization to recruit a worker under the TFWP.
Service Canada will inform the LMIA applicant in writing of a negative decision regarding the LMIA application.
A review of this decision can be considered if new or additional information becomes available. In some cases Service Canada may require the process be started over including redoing the advertising requirements.
A work permit is required for a TFW to work in Canada.
The employer or appointed 3rd party representative must notify the temporary foreign worker (TFW) that the LMIA was approved.
The employer must send the positive LMIA letter to the TFW with an employment contract signed both by the employer and TFW.
The employer will ask the TFW to submit this documentation along with the work visa / permit application to CIC. The worker should visit CIC's Web site to find a Canadian Visa Office where the application is to be submitted
In some cases specific categories of workers or workers from designated countries can precede directly with their LMIA to a Canadian point of entry receive a work permit from CBSA officers.
CIC will assess the TFW's work permit application. If the assessment is positive, the TFW will receive a work permit to be able to work for a specific employer, under established working conditions, and for a particular duration in Canada.
LMIA 10-day "Speed of Service" Processing
ESDC provides a service whereby LMIA applications may be processed within 10 business days, provided employers are hiring TFWs in positions that meet one or more of the established criteria, which include (1) highest-demand, (2) shortest duration work period, or (3) highest-paid.
NOC codes 8252-B and 8253-B (agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers) are on ESDC’s list of skills/ occupations in highest demand and therefore eligible for “speed of service” processing.
Meet all program requirements,
Be on the list of eligible occupations, and
Have a prevailing wage at, or above, the provincial/territorial median wage, where the job is located.
► Read more about the 10-day LMIA Speed of Service here
► View the median hourly wages by Province / Territory here
Employer Contact Centre
There is no formal appeal process to appeal an opinion on a LMIA application.
However, employers may contact Service Canada’s Employer Contact Centre (ECC) at 1-800-367-5693 regarding questions on LMIA decision. Employers may be directed to ESDC-TFWP officials if further information is required. Employers are urged to visit the ECC website for hours of operation and current contact information.
► Check the Employer Contact Centre contact information here
► RETURN to the main Recruiting Foreign Workers page