In most cases, employers are required to get approval from ESDC before hiring foreign workers now called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An LMIA is issued in cases where a Canadian employer is unable to fill the position with a local Canadian worker or Permeant Resident. This can be proved by advertising the jobs in Canada and making efforts to hire Canadians, proving that the applicants are not qualified for the position offered or are not willing to accept the conditions of job offer.

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Once an employer applies for the LMIA, he or she will await an approval letter from Employment and Social Development Canada. This document is known as a positive LMIA sometimes referred to as a “confirmation letter” which confirms there is a need to hire a foreign worker. Once the employer receives the LMIA, the potential employee can apply for a work permit as long as he or she has a job offer letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number.

LMIA Requirements

Hiring High-Wage Workers 

High wage LMIA refers to the wage when you are hiring an employee at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage.  When hiring high-wage foreign workers, a transition plan is an important requirement for all Canadian employers seeking to employ a temporary foreign worker(s). The Transition Plan represents commitments that an employer has agreed to undertake specific to the occupation and work location for which they are seeking TFWs.

Hiring Low-Wage Workers

When hiring low-wage workers, a Transition Plan is not needed when applying for an LMIA. Unlike high-wage workers, low-wage workers are subject to a cap that limits the number of workers a business can employ. Canadian employers with more than 10 employees will be restricted to a maximum 10% cap on low-wage temporary foreign workers.

How to Hire if You Need an LMIA

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) lets you hire temporary foreign workers to fill labour and skill shortages. Once the LMIA has been issued, you should provide a copy of the confirmation letter to each temporary foreign worker and tell each of them to apply for a work permit.

How to Hire if You Don’t Need an LMIA

The International Mobility Program (IMP) lets you hire temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. If you hire an employee through this program you will need to

  • pay an employer compliance fee
  • submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal

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