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A Labour Market Impact Assessment. What is it? And Who Needs It?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment. What a long name!

Since most people, like me, do not necessarily enjoy reading big words, we will shorten it to LMIA.

What is it? The LMIA is a document that a Canadian employer may need to obtain before hiring a temporary foreign worker. I am emphasizing the word “may”, because there are certain situations where an employer does need a LMIA before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMIA will basically show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill a specific job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. Thus, the employer must look abroad for a qualified employee.

Who needs it? Does every employer looking to hire a foreign worker need a LMIA? No. Certain types of jobs are exempt, such as:

  1. Foreign workers that are covered by an international agreement like NAFTA, GATS and non-trade agreements;
  2. Foreign workers that are covered by an agreement between Canada and a province or territory;
  3. Foreign workers that are exempt for “Canadian interests” reasons, such as:
    • those who will bring a significant benefit to Canada like:
      • self-employed engineers, technical workers, creative and performing artists, etc.
      • workers transferred within a company;
      • workers under Mobilité Francophone;
    • those that can show a reciprocal employment, for example:
      • professional coaches and athletes working for Canadian teams;
      • International Experience Canada – a work abroad program for youth and young professionals;
      • people in exchange programs like professors and visiting lecturers;
    • those who are designated by the Minister:
      • postdoctoral fellows and people who have won academic awards from Canadian schools;
      • academics, including researchers, guest lecturers and visiting professors (sponsored through a recognized federal program);
      • medical residents and fellows;
    • charity and religious worker.

The list is long! And trust me, it goes on!

There are few other circumstances in which a foreign worker can be exempt from the LMIA requirement, such as:

  • foreign national in Canada with no other means of support;
  • certain permanent residence applicants living in Canada;
  • certain other humanitarian situations.

Once the employer obtains that LMIA, the foreign national can then apply for a work permit. To do so, the worker will need the following documents from the employer:

  • Job offer letter
  • Employment contract
  • Copy of the positive LMIA
  • LMIA number

Yes, determining if you need a LMIA or not, can be complicated. Determining if you can apply for a LMIA can even be more complicated. What must you do before applying for the LMIA? Where would you advertise the position? What goes in a job advertisement?

It would be way too long for me to explain every scenario here, so if you are an employer looking to hiring a foreign worker, and need answers to your questions, let’s chat.


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