New Update in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and what it means for you
A Labour Market Impact Assessment or LMIA is a very crucial document that allows employers in Canada to hire foreign workers. When an employer needs someone to fill out a job position, they are encouraged to hire someone from within Canada who is allowed to work legally.
In some cases, an employer might experience the need to hire someone from outside Canada. Usually, this happens when the job requires specialization in a specific skill set for the job to be done, But they can not find enough skilled workers in Canada to perform that work for that particular employer.
At this point, the employer has to look for foreign workers who are qualified to do the job. The employer has to obtain an LMIA so that the foreign worker can apply for a work permit. To come to Canada and work for the employer, the foreign worker then needs to obtain a work permit from the Government of Canada.
Hence, for foreign workers who are interested to come to Canada to gain Canadian work experience and employers who are looking for job-specific foreign workers, LMIA is a very significant piece of document.
How to get an LMIA
LMIA is a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and, it’s handled by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA application is submitted by the employer looking for a foreign worker. For the employer to be able to apply for an LMIA, these two conditions need to be present:
- The existence of a valid need for a foreign worker to fill the job.
- Unavailability of any Canadian worker or permanent resident to do the job.
Once the employer applies for an LMIA, if they receive a positive response that means now they can proceed with the next steps.
The LMIA application process depends on the type of program you’re hiring through.
The programs are as follows:
- high-wage workers
- low-wage workers
- workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
- workers through the Agricultural Stream
What to do with the LMIA?
Once an LMIA has been issued, the employer has to provide a copy of the document to the temporary foreign worker. The temporary foreign worker then has to apply for a work permit using the information from the LMIA. If the employer intends to hire multiple foreign workers, then a copy needs to be provided to each of them.
Once this process starts, the employer and the worker have to keep track of the expiry dates and duration of LMIA and work permits:
- Expiry Date of LMIA
- Duration Date of LMIA
- Expiry Date of Work Permit
Let’s see how these dates are different from each other.
LMIA Expiry Date
The LMIA Expiry Date is the date by which the Temporary Foreign Worker must have applied for the work permit. If they don’t apply within the LMIA Expiry Date, then the LMIA becomes invalid and the employer will have to re-apply for a new LMIA.
LMIA Duration Date
The LMIA Duration Date indicates the recommended length of time for which a work permit could be issued to a Temporary Foreign Worker without affecting the Canadian Labour Market. The duration date is decided by ESDC or Service Canada based on their assessment of the LMIA application.
Work Permit Expiry Date
The work permit expiry date indicates the time for which the Temporary Foreign Worker will be allowed to work in Canada legally. This date is determined by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC ). Starting from April 4, 2022, the validity of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) has been extended to a maximum of 18 months. Before that, the validity period of LMIA was six or nine months.
Here are some common questions addressed regarding this new validity period.
Does the maximum 18-month expiry apply to all components of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?
The 18-month expiry period applies to all components of the Program across all provinces and territories, except for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
Can an LMIA have less than 18 months of validity?
The answer is yes. The ESDC/Service Canada can issue an LMIA that expires in less than 18 months. Usually, this time is determined based on the nature of labor and skill scarcity.
Should employers find a foreign worker before applying for an LMIA?
In some cases, employers have to include the worker’s name in the LMIA application. But most employers do not have to include the worker’s name in the application. Therefore they can apply for LMIA without mentioning any foreign worker in the application. This will be considered as an unnamed LMIA.
An unnamed LMIA application can only be submitted for available positions in:
- Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
- Agricultural stream (except for positions in Quebec)
- Caregiver Program (except for positions in Quebec)
- Low-wage stream (except for positions in Quebec)
- High-wage stream (except for positions in Quebec)
However, these employers must continue to advertise the position to recruit Canadians or permanent residents until they have selected a TFW. They must provide the name of the TFW and other relevant information before the LMIA expires.
Is it mandatory to include the Temporary Foreign Worker’s name in the LMIA Application?
In some exceptional cases, employers can not apply for an unnamed LMIA. These exceptions depend on the stream the application is being submitted under and the province/territory where the job is located.
What to do if the job starts more than 18 months after the LMIA is issued?
Regardless of the start date of the job, the Temporary Foreign Worker must submit their work permit application before the expiry date indicated on the LMIA.
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