What is a labour market opinion?
Dear Miss Powell, I applied for a job in Canada and I spoke to the employer who was impressed with me. She sent me a contract to review and sign, and I sent it back. That was some time ago. I thought that by now I would have recieved all the documents to apply for a work permit; but when I spoke to her, she said that she had to do a 'labour market opinion' and get approval first. What does that mean?
Before an employer in Canada can hire a temporary foreign worker for most job categories, it is a requirement to apply to Service Canada for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). This opinion looks at the impact that hiring a foreign worker has on the current Canadian job market and whether there is a genuine shortage of persons in Canada who can fill the position. They look at the benefit to your employer and also to the development of the country. Based on their findings they may issue a 'Positive LMO' so that your prospective employer may hire you.
Your prospective employer would need to demonstrate that she has first sought to fill the position locally in Canada and that in spite of her efforts; she has not been able to find suitable workers. She also has to show that there is a genuine need for this position to be filled and that she has the means to hire such an individual.
Service Canada will also evaluate the employer to ensure that she would be a suitable employer and that she would be offering the correct salary and work conditions. They will also check to ensure that she not previously been investigated for breaches of labour laws, rules and regulations. This type of investigation does take time, especially if your employer is applying for the first time. Consider that this is also to your benefit as you do not want to be hired by an unfair, negligent, or abusive employer.
If the employer has previously been approved, then she may apply under the accelerated labour market opinion (A-LMO) option. She still would need to demonstrate that she has a clean record of compliance with the LMO programme in the past two years. If she uses this option, the LMO should be ready within 10 business days. Then she could submit that to you so that you may apply for the work permit. At this point you will need to satisfy the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) office locally that you qualify for this job and are able to pass the medical and criminal checks.
There are some jobs that don't require an LMO, but unfortunately, Jamaica does not fall into the category of 'visa-exempt countries' and, therefore, your prospective employer will most likely need an LMO before she can hire you.
If you and your prospective employer need assistance with the application, I recommend that you contact an immigration lawyer to guide you with the process.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and Notary Public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada, bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777