LMIA-based Work Permit

LMIA-based Work Permit

Canadian employers are mandated to secure a document from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada, confirming their ability to hire a temporary worker. This document is referred to as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA grants employers the authorization to engage a temporary foreign worker, substantiating the necessity for a foreign worker to fill the job and the unavailability of a qualified Canadian worker for the position.


The LMIA-based work permit follows a two-step application process. In the initial step, employers apply for an LMIA through Service Canada. The purpose of the LMIA is to ensure that the selection of foreign workers does not override qualified Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents for the job. A positive LMIA signifies that hiring foreign nationals in the specified occupation and work location is likely to have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market.


The second step involves applying for a work permit once the employer has secured a positive LMIA from Service Canada. The work permit application is then submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).


Work permits based on skill types can be categorized into Skilled Work Permits and Semi-Skilled Work Permits.


Skilled Work Permits are applicable to occupations falling under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels 0, A, or B. Typically, applicants for skilled work permits are required to have 1-3 years of experience, depending on the occupation. In certain cases, relevant education may suffice to meet job requirements. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English or French to meet the language requirements of the job.

On the other hand, Semi-Skilled Work Permits are designated for occupations under the NOC skill levels C and D. These permits necessitate a maximum of high school education or job-specific training. Similar to skilled permits, language proficiency in English or French is essential to meet job requirements.

Notably, Semi-Skilled Work Permits under the agriculture stream often do not mandate specific language skills, education, or experience. However, applicants must still satisfy general eligibility requirements for the work permit.

For low-skilled work permits, employers typically cover return airfare, ensure the availability of affordable and suitable accommodation, provide temporary medical insurance coverage, register workers with provincial workplace safety insurance plans, and establish an employer-employee contract.






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Work permits based on wage

 High-Wage Workers

Each Canadian province and territory establishes a median hourly wage, as determined by Statistics Canada. High-wage workers are those earning at or above the median hourly wage for a specified occupation in a given region. Employers offering wages at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage should submit an LMIA application under the high-wage stream.


Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers are required to include transition plans with their LMIA applications. These plans are crucial to ensure that employers are taking proactive steps to decrease their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. The objective of transition plans is to confirm that employers are utilizing the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labor needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are unavailable. This ensures that Canadians are given the first opportunity for available jobs.


A transition plan outlines the activities an employer commits to undertaking, including recruiting, retaining, and training Canadians and permanent residents. Its purpose is to reduce reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. For high-wage positions, having a valid transition plan for the duration of the temporary foreign worker’s employment is a mandatory requirement.


Low-Wage Workers


Employers are required to submit an LMIA application under the low-wage occupation category if the wages offered to foreign nationals are below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage. Employers seeking to hire foreign workers for low-wage positions are not obligated to submit transition plans with their LMIA applications. Instead, they must adhere to a different set of guidelines.


In an effort to control access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the Canadian Government has implemented a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers a business can employ. Moreover, specific low-wage occupations may be excluded from LMIA processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. However, there are exceptions to this cap; it does not apply when employers are hiring temporary foreign workers for on-farm agricultural positions.


Employers hiring workers at a low wage must:

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