The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has been under intense media coverage over the last few months. The Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) is one of the changes still in effect in 2020.
In most cases, employers require government approval before hiring a foreign worker now called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). An LMIA is issued by Service Canada in cases where a Canadian employer is unable to fill the position with a local Canadian worker. The main means of demonstrating this is through advertising the jobs in Canada and making efforts to hire Canadians, proving that the applicants are not qualified for the position offered.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assessing the impact of hiring a foreign national in Canada. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill a position, therefore enabling an employer to hire a foreign national. A negative LMIA indicates that a position should be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
A foreign national cannot apply for an LMIA. Rather, LMIAs are documents which must be applied for by a Canadian employer. While sometimes it is possible to hire a foreign worker who is exempt from needing an LMIA, or who is exempt from requiring a work permit, all streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) require that an employer obtain an LMIA in order to hire outside of Canada. As well, many of Canada’s immigration pathways to permanent residency require that applicants show a positive LMIA in order to claim points for a Canadian job offer.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker.
A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.
If the employer needs an LMIA, they must apply for one. Once an employer gets the LMIA, the worker can apply for a work permit. To apply for a work permit, a worker needs:
- a job offer letter,
- a contract,
- a copy of the LMIA, and
- the LMIA number.
An employer may submit an application for an LMIA as early as 6-months prior to the intended start date for the position. LMIA application procedures vary depending on the wage of the person being hired. Employers should consult the median hourly wages of their province or territory in order to determine whether their position is considered high-wage or low-wage, as low-wage positions will require the employer to meet additional criteria. There are specialized streams for employers wishing to obtain LMIAs for certain areas of employment. These include:
- Hiring Agricultural Workers
- Hiring Foreign Academics
- Hiring within the province of Quebec
LMIA applications are submitted in hard copy, by mail, to the appropriate Service Canada Processing Centre. Applications must include evidence that the following criteria have been met:
- Processing Fee: All applications for LMIAs include a $1000 CAD processing fee which will not be refunded even if the result is negative. Certain applicants under the LMIAs for in-home caregivers may be exempt from this fee.
- Business Legitimacy Documents: Documents proving that the employer’s status as a legitimate Canadian business.
- Transition Plan: Employers must submit a plan for how they intend to address the need to hire foreign nationals. Eventually, employers are expected to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents rather than TFWs.
- Recruitment Efforts: Employers must submit evidence that they made substantial efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the position prior to hiring a TFW.
- Wages: Applications must include information regarding the TFWs wages. This will differentiate the high-wage positions from low-wage positions and ensure that TFWs are paid the same amount for labour as their Canadian equals.
- Workplace Safety: TFWs are entitled to the same standards of workplace health and safety as Canadians in the same position. For this reason, employers must provide evidence that TFWs will be covered by insurance which is at minimum equivalent to the health coverage offered by the province or territory where the business is located.
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