In most cases, an employer must obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign nationals in Canada.
To hire foreign nationals, the employer must obtain an LMIA, a document that is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada, and which gives an employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker.
An LMIA proves that there are no Canadian employees available for the given job and only a foreigner can fill it in. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.
Obtaining an LMIA is the sole responsibility of the employer. Before hiring a foreigner, the employer should check if he/she needs an LMIA, and if it is required, submit an application. In order to get an LMIA, the employer needs to prepare a package of documents and pay C$1,000. If he/she asks you to pay for an LMIA, it is a fraud. And as the employer has no right to make the candidate pay for an LMIA, he/she may be reluctant to give a job to a foreigner unless he is completely sure the candidate will come to Canada and stay there.
The foreign worker can also verify if LMIA is required for his employment. To do so, he needs to answer a few questions to find out about the type of work permit for which he is eligible and steps to take before applying for a work permit.
Employers who hire certain types of temporary workers must receive an LMIA before the employee applies for a work permit. Once the employer obtains an LMIA, the employee can apply for a work permit.
To apply for a work permit, the employer needs to have:
- Job offer letter
- LMIA copy
- LMIA number
There is the facilitated LMIA process for Quebec employers. Under the Facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment process for Quebec employers, a Quebec employer hiring a foreigner for a position covered by the list of occupations does not need to advertise this position to attract Canadians. However, they should try to recruit Canadian citizens or permanent residents before making a job offer to a foreigner.
When LMIA is not Required
If you’re planning to move to Canada through an Express Entry immigration program, your employer does not need to obtain an LMIA if you meet all these criteria:
- You have worked full-time for the same employer with a work permit for at least 1 year (or equal time if you were employed for a part-time job)
- You have a job offer
- You have a work permit, which is exempt from LMIA in accordance with:
- An international agreement (NAFTA or GATS), including professionals, traders or investors
- A federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreement (including ‘significant investment’ projects)
- The ‘Canadian Interests’ category
The ‘Canadian Interests’ category includes the following subcategories:
– ‘Significant Benefit’: if the employer can prove that the employment of a foreign worker will bring important social, cultural and economic benefits to Canada. This may include:
- Self-employed engineers, technicians, creative people, artists, etc.
- Workers who have been transferred within one company and who will benefit Canada with their skills and experience
- Mobilité Francophone workers (French-speaking and bilingual workers from abroad who are going to work outside of Quebec in professional, managerial, technical and skilled trades occupations)
– Reciprocal employment: foreign workers can get jobs in Canada, while Canadians have similar job opportunities in other countries. This may include:
- Professional coaches and athletes working in Canadian sports teams
- Young professionals under the International Experience Canada program
- Participants of exchange programs (professors and guest lecturers)
– Designated by the Minister:
- Scientists, including researchers, guest lecturers and professors (sponsored under a federal program)
- ‘Competitiveness and public policy’ category: medical specialists, holders of doctorate degrees in medicine, and people who have received academic awards in Canadian universities
– Charitable and religious work (excluding volunteers)
If you are immigrating through the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you can accept job offers from a maximum of two employers, and you have to work for two employers in this case.