Need to Hire a Foreign Worker for your Canadian Company? You may need an LMIA!

Here at Bellissimo Immigration Law Group PC we work on LMIAs on a weekly basis.  A well prepared, thorough and successful LMIA application may be the difference between strengthening, advancing and or expanding your business and continuing exhausting and empty searches and holding your business back.  

In most cases, employers are required to apply for a LMIA before they can hire foreign workers (see exemptions including CUSMA/NAFTA and GATS). In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required. As of 4 April 2022, a positive LMIA will be valid for 18 months from the date of issuance.

LMIA applications should show the following:

  • Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents;
  • Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region;
  • Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards;
  • Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge; and
  • Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.

A positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one to three years, under certain conditions, if granted.

LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada (SC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each position applied for and applicable legal fees that range depending on the complexity and number of workers being sought.

There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and short-duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades, top 10% of pay bracket, and for positions that are less than 120 days.

On 4 April 2022, the Canadian government announced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map, with five key policy changes that aim to address current labour shortages and further the government’s ongoing efforts to adjust and improve the TFW Program.  These are welcomed developments but it also means the most current information, policy and law must be applied to LMIA applications.  Be it here or elsewhere seek the assistance of an authorized representative as most of these applications are challenging.

Effective 4 April 2022:

  • The Seasonal Cap Exemption is made permanent. There will be no limits to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, such as fish and seafood processing, can fill through the TFW Program. Additionally, the maximum employment duration of these positions will be permanently increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from 9 months. Prior to COVID-19, LMIAs were only valid for 6 months.
  • The maximum employment duration for LMIAs processed under High-Wage and Global Talent Streams will be extended from two years to three years. This change will not only reduce the administrative burden of employers utilizing the TFW Program, but also help foreign workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency.

Effective 30 April 2022:

  • Employers in seven sectors will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year. These seven sectors include Food Manufacturing, Wood Product Manufacturing, Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Hospitals, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. All other employers will be able to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice, an increase from the former 10% cap.
  • The Government will end the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation, Food Services, and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

Considering the lengthy process of LMIA applications, Service Canada also implemented measures to expedite the processing of LMIA applications so that employers can hire foreign workers in a timely manner. These measures include increasing staffing resources, as well as encouraging submission of LMIA applications through online portal. Nonetheless, stringent checks undertaken through the LMIA process will not be affected to protect temporary foreign workers and labour market conditions.

We are here to help and offer you a candid assessment if you do in fact qualify for an LMIA. So take the necessary step to obtain sound legal advice before taking any other steps.  You have determined what you need for your business now determine what you need for an LMIA. We have helped thousands over decades of a very proud history and we are as passionate about our work today as we were when we first opened our doors.

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