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Labour Market Impact Assessment: All you Need to Know about LMIA Application

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What is an LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to assess the impact foreign workers have in the Canadian labour market.

Before hiring Foreign Workers from certain countries, an employer must submit an LMIA to demonstrate they have not been successful hiring a local workforce during the recruitment process.

Keep in mind, not everyone needs an LMIA.

LMIA Application Key Points

LMIA applications must be submitted by an employer, not the employee.

There are two main LMIA streams: the high-wage and the low-wage workers stream. Other streams include dual intent LMIA, LMIA for in-home caregivers, LMIA for agricultural workers, and others.

LMIA requirements are different according to the province and nature of work

When can the LMIA Application be Processed?

When assessing applications for the LMIA the ESDC will consider several factors which will greatly affect your chances of a positive outcome. Here are some of their considerations:

Has the employer put in adequate effort to fill the position with Canadian workers already in the country?

Are there Canadians interested in the position if offered?

Is the wage offered consistent with standard wages for the position in question?

Do the work conditions satisfy Canadian labour standards?

Will hiring a foreign worker benefit Canada's economy and job market?

Is the affected industry currently undergoing labour disputes?

High and Low Wage Positions

Before applying for the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment), the employer must determine whether the vacancy they are hiring for falls under a high wage or low wage position. If the employer is hiring at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, they will apply for a high-wage LMIA, if not, they will need the low-wage LMIA.

The main differences to consider between high and low wage LMIAs are procedural. When applying for the low wage LMIA, employers will most likely have a cap of 10% of the workforce made up of foreign workers whereas employees hiring for high wage positions will not have a cap. Hiring for a low wage LMIA also requires employers to target two of four groups; Indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, persons with disabilities, and newcomers. Through the job matching services on Job Bank, low wage employers will have to invite applicants with two or more stars to apply for the job whereas high wage employers need four or more stars.

Another major thing to consider is the unemployment rate. Applications for positions that require bare minimum education and prior training will be refused in regions with an unemployment rate of 6 percent or more.

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Province/Territory Median hourly wages prior to April 30, 2022 Median hourly wages as of April 30, 2022
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

LMIA Requirements for Employers

Stream: Employer Employer eligibility requirements will be determined by the stream, there are 8 main streams.

Services: The employer must provide goods or services to the public.

Legitimate Job Offer: The employer has presented a legitimate job offer to the worker.

Wages and Working Conditions: Wages and working conditions are similar to the ones offered to Canadians.

Recruitment Efforts: Employers have held a fair recruitment process with Canadian workers to ensure minimal impact on Canadian job seekers already in the country (Some exceptions may apply in Quebec).

Business Legitimacy: An employer must have a legitimate business that has not laid off any employees in the 12 months preceding to the application.

LMIA Processing Times

Processing times will vary depending on the amount of applications being processed by Service Canada and the type of application. To speed up the process, the employer should ensure the application is filled out correctly and that any requests for additional documentation are answered promptly.

Average processing times are outlined on the government website.

The ESDC has also pledged to process certain types of LMIA applications within 10 business days. This includes:

Highest-Demand Occupations: All LMIA applications for the highest-demand occupations (skilled trades), or

Highest- Paid Occupations: Highest-paid (top 10%) occupations, or

Short-Duration Occupations: Short-duration work periods (120 days or less).

What Happens Once the LMIA Application is Approved

An approved LMIA essentially demonstrates that the job the employer wishes to fill cannot be filled by the existing Canadian workforce and that foreign labourers can be hired without negative consequences for the economy.
Once the employer has received a positive LMIA, they can begin hiring foreign workers who will have to apply for work permits. If the employer does not have sufficient candidates and needs help with the hiring process, our sister company Workvantage can help with finding the most suitable candidates globally.

LMIA Exceptions

In some cases, an Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not necessary. The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire temporary workers without an LMIA.

Workers that are eligible for the IMP include:

Those entering Canada as part of trade treaties, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

Those entering Canada on an open work permit.

Those entering Canada as intra-company transferees.


In order to hire under the Global Talent Stream (GTS) an employer will still need an LMIA, however, in order to make the process easier and faster, some steps are taken out and processing times tend to be much shorter.

In order to be eligible for the Global Talent Stream, a Canadian employer must fit one of two categories; Category A – Designated Partner Referral, or Category B – In-Demand Occupation.

The intra-company category allows international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving competitiveness in overseas markets. This type of employment is fully exempt from needing an LMIA.

NAFTA was put in place in part to allow citizens of the USA and Mexico to have greater mobility throughout North America. Under the NAFTA trade agreement, some foreign nationals may work in Canada without the employer needing an LMIA

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement allows some eligible EU nationals to work in Canada with ease. There are four categories of eligibility:

Business Visitors – eligible for short-term entry into Canada without a work permit or
Intra-Company Transferees – transferees of EU enterprises may be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without requiring an LMIA
Investors – investors from the EU may be eligible for a Canadian work permit without requiring an LMIA
Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals – certain contract service suppliers and independent professionals who are EU citizens could be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without requiring an LMIA

To be exempt from needing an LMIA under Canadian interest exemptions, the employment of the candidate must be evidently to the benefit of Canadian society or culture. Generally an immigration officer would look at the potential employee’s past success as well as testimony and recommendations from experts in the field in order to establish significant benefit.

Some additional LMIA exemptions apply in Quebec.

LMIA Exceptions in Quebec​

The Quebec Acceptation Certificate

If a foreign national has not applied for permanent residence in Canada, they may be eligible for an LMIA exempt, employer-specific work permit application, in this case, the Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec Acceptation Certificate)

Facilitated LMIA Processing for Quebec Employers

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) are allowing employers to apply for an LMIA without needing to provide proof of recruitment efforts. This pathway includes a list of specialised occupations, which is updated annually. The facilitated LMIA processing includes professions in high demand, and in industries experiencing labour shortages in Quebec.

Working with an Immigration Consultant for an LMIA

Immigration Pros offers much more than a filled out form. Our team will take care of the entire LMIA application process, from determining the correct stream for your business to filling out and submitting the application.

Our LMIA services include:

LMIA application assistance

Job posting and advertising according to government requirements

Guidance to collect necessary documentation

We also provide separate services to assist new employees with work permit applications once the LMIA has been approved.

Service fees for this process:
$2,999 – $3,990

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About the Process



Call or fill out our contact form for a free assessment. Our team of professionals will evaluate your case and provide you with professional feedback on your chances of success along with a quote.


Strategy Creation

Our team of professionals will work with you to create a tailor-made strategy that is likely to result in a successful LMIA.


Case Revision

We will review your supporting documents thoroughly and work towards building a strong case.



In order to make this an easy and stress-free process, we will handle all communication with the government on your behalf while we await for a decision, keeping you informed every step of the way.



Once a decision has been made, our team will advise you on the next necessary steps

Let Immigration Pros take care of your LMIA and Foreign Worker needs

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