After spending your first year in Canada with a Working Holiday Visa work permit, you might wish to extend your stay. “What are my options?” is the single most important question you will face. You may be lucky enough to be from a country whose citizens are either eligible to apply for the Young Professionals Work Permit or for the Working holiday visa multiple times. These work permits are relatively easy to obtain however not everybody is eligible to apply. Many of you might, therefore, find yourselves in a situation where the feared LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) remains your only option. So what does the term “LMIA” stand for, how to obtain it and what is it good for?
An LMIA is a document that many Canadian employers need to obtain before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA must be attached to most work permit applications unless your employment satisfies one of the LMIA exemptions.
There are many myths circulating around about LMIA and most of them make a positive labour market assessment an unattainable goal. The truth is that the eligibility requirements have been tightened up in the past two years however it is definitely not impossible to get a positive LMIA.
We strongly recommend beginning the LMIA process well in advance. The total time required to obtain an LMIA vary greatly and can be significantly reduced by choosing the right processing office. In order to succeed, it is essential to satisfy all the ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) requirements such as conducting prolonged and extensive recruitment effort for a period of at least 4 weeks; offering a competitive wage and working conditions consistent with federal/provincial standards or making sure that the employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute in progress. Please note that this might be your employer’s first experience with an LMIA application so do not rely on their knowledge of the Immigration Laws and ESDC requirements.
The main purpose of an LMIA is very simple – it confirms there is a shortage of workers in a given occupation and in a given geographical location, which basically means there are no qualified workers available on the local market to fill the position. Proving the lack of availability of qualified workers among Canadians and permanents residents is generally one of the major burdens on Canadian employers seeking to hire a foreign worker. You employer will, therefore, need to show significant effort to hire a Canadian/permanent resident before a positive LMIA can be issued. Canadian employers also need to demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will somehow benefit the local labour market and that it will not negatively impact the Canadian labour market.
As the main purpose of an LMIA is to protect the Canadian labour market against a surplus of foreign workers and to keep the unemployment rate of Canadians/permanent residents down, ESDC officers tend to assess all LMIA applications very strictly.
Obtaining a positive LMIA is often your getaway to permanent residency in Canada as an offer of employment in skill type 0, A and B will give you 50 – 200 bonus points under Express Entry. Considering that the cut-off score has not gone down much since Express Entry was first launched, having a job offer based on a positive LMIA or provincial nomination is the only way to be guaranteed an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. It is, therefore, crucial not to underestimate the LMIA process as it can open your door to Canada.
6 important facts about LMIA:
- LMIA will give you 200 (skilled level 00 occupations) or 50 (skill level 0, A or B occupations) bonus points under Express Entry.
- Employers must pay $1000 fee for each LMIA requested.
- Jobs are divided into 2 categories – high-wage (salary meets or exceeds the median wage in the province) and low-wage (salary is below the median wage in the province).
- Low-wage foreign workers cannot make up more than 10% of the total workforce for employers with 10 or more employees.
- It is not possible to apply for an LMIA for selected low-skilled occupations in the Accommodation, Food Service and Retail industry in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.
- The duration of work permits based on positive LMIA is limited to a maximum of one year for all low-wage positions and maximum of two years for high-wage positions.
- Selected occupations are eligible for 10-day processing time.
How can we help you?
We submit LMIA applications on a regular basis so we know what it takes to get a positive LMIA. LMIA forms change very frequently and it is, therefore, easy to make a critical error in your application. We regularly upgrade our knowledge by attending Continual Professional Development courses on LMIA. We, therefore, have an extensive knowledge of the LMIA rules and regulations and we apply this knowledge to maximize your chances of getting a positive decision.
Even though we cannot guarantee the success of your application, we can guarantee that we will do our best to prepare a high-quality submission. The best proof of our extensive knowledge in this matter is our high LMIA application approval rate.