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Immigration Corner | What is LMIA?

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 12:10 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I keep reading that I need an LMIA to get a work permit or to live in Canada. Can you please tell me what is an LMIA and how do I apply for one? I have an aunt that needs help and she is willing to hire me to help her. Can I apply for it online? How long does it take?


Dear PT,

An LMIA is an acronym for the Canadian positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which a Canadian employer must obtain before he/she can hire an international worker to work in Canada. This report was also known as a Labour Market Opinion. It is a report which signals to the department of Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada that adequate research was conducted to verify that there is a genuine need for a temporary foreign worker to fill the gap in the Canadian labour market.

How to Apply

The perspective employer is required to apply to the department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and provide all the necessary information to show efforts made to find suitable employee as well as to provide details about you, the perspective employee. Each employer and employee need to understand that this process will take time as employers may be subject to investigation and their property may be inspected to ensure compliance once a work permit has been issued. This is to protect the integrity of the system and to also protect the foreign worker. Every application is assessed on a case-by-case basis and so the processing time varies from a few weeks to many months.

The LMIA application is a two-step process and the application must be carefully prepared and all required supporting documents must be included.

FIRST STEP: The employer should submit an accurately completed form and submit supporting documents to show details of advertising efforts, a list and details of people who applied for the position, if any. Details of the interviews that were conducted and explanation and reason that the individuals in Canada were not selected. The processing fee required from the employer of CAD$1,000 is generally required. This is exempted in some cases, for example, when an application is made in support of an application for permanent residence.

Some of the critical factors that ESDC will consider before a positive LMIA is granted are: whether the employer has previously applied, whether or not the employer is compliant, working conditions, the wage offered, the minimum wage in the province, the typical wage for that particular position, is it a 'high-wage' or 'low-wage' occupation, will the job help create or retain other jobs in Canada, efforts made by the employer to find local workers, are there people in other parts of Canada that are willing and available to fill the position, employer reputation, industry requirements and other factors. Once the ESDC is satisfied, a positive LMIA is granted.

SECOND STEP:When the LMIA has been approved, then the perspective employer will get a positive LMIA report so that the employee may apply for permanent residence or a temporary work permit. The LMIA report is employer specific and, in most cases, limited to a specific region. You will not be permitted to change job or employer or move to another region without first obtaining a new LMIA.

Each step is critical in the entire process and therefore we recommend that you contact an authorised immigration lawyer to prepare the application on your behalf, based on the finer details of your case.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public with office in Ottawa, Ontario. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: info@deidrepowell.com.Subject line: Immigration. Find her on facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer or call 613.695.8777