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Immigration Corner | Offered a job in Canada

Published:Tuesday | September 20, 2016 | 12:00 AMDeidre S Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I got a job offer from a Canadian company and I wanted to update my express entry profile, but I keep getting asked about an 'LMIA'. What is that? How do I get one? I know that if I have a job offer then I would get all the points I need to get permanent residence. Do I really need one?

- AR

Dear AR,

LMIA is an acronym for Labour Market Impact Assessment Report. This was previously called the Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

Usually an employer is required to apply to Service Canada for permission to offer a legitimate job to someone who is outside of Canada. The permission is usually granted once the applicant employer can prove to the authorities that there is a genuine shortage of individuals in Canada who can fill the position.

After the employer submits the completed application, supporting documents and fees, a report will be prepared to show the impact that hiring a foreign worker has on the current Canadian job market.

Service Canada will examine the benefit of hiring an international worker to the prospective employer and to the overall development of Canada. Once a review is completed, then an LMIA will be issued. Your prospective employer will need to provide you with a copy of that positive LMIA in order for you to add the information to your express entry profile.

If you receive a job offer, it is your duty to do your own due diligence by either consulting with a Canadian immigration lawyer or doing some research on your own to find out about the company and whether the job offer is legitimate.

Although most companies have a website that you can peruse, this will not be enough. In some cases, employers may even present a copy of the LMIA, but this LMIA could be revoked or cancelled. Although this is rare, it is your duty to do your research in order to avoid disappointments.

It is recommended that you examine the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to find out if the company is eligible to offer a job in the first place. There is a list of all the employers who are blacklisted or ineligible to hire foreign workers. The list is short, however it is important to check to ensure that an LMIA has not been revoked or cancelled after it was granted.

These companies usually make it on that list due to a breach of immigration rules; or the employer or a group of employers have provided false or misleading information when the application was made. Other reasons for the cancellation or revocation could also be as a result of new information that has been brought to the attention of the authorities that implies that employment of a foreign national, in this particular job, could cause a significant negative effect on the Canadian labour market.

The key thing to note is that your prospective employer will need to submit an application to one of the designated centres, demonstrate that efforts were made to fill the position locally in Canada and that in spite of their efforts, including taking advantage of the employer assistance programmes, they have not been able to find suitable workers in Canada.

They would have to show that there is a genuine need for this position to be filled and explain the impact that the lack of having that person could have on the viability of their business. If this is a job for personal services such as live-in caregiver, the process would be similar except that the prospective employer's home may be inspected.

The employer should expect to be scrutinised by the authorities. They will evaluate the employer to ensure that the individual or company is a suitable employer and that the correct salary, employment contract and work conditions are suitable. This investigation is also for your own protection.

This type of investigation does take time, especially if your employer is applying for the first time.

LMIA has some exemptions, such as jobs under the International Mobility Programmes (IMP), young people entering Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative, international students who have graduated and received a post-graduation work permit, and some foreign nationals who are working in Canada while they wait for their application for permanent residence to be finalised. This is not an exhaustive list. Additional information can be found on the IRCC website.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777