What is an LMIA?

What is LMIA

An LMIA or Labour Market Impact Assessment is a document that is required of a Canadian employer when hiring foreign workers. It should be familiar to anyone who has applied for a Canadian work permit. It is one of the requirements along with your job offer letter and a contract. 

Why is LMIA necessary? 

A positive LMIA confirms two things: 

  • The need for foreign workers 
  • That no Canadians or permanent residents are available for the job 

It ensures that Canadians were considered for the position and all options were exhausted before looking for a foreign worker. 

The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) monitors the LMIA and is responsible for setting Canadians’ standard of living and quality of life. The LMIA is a tool that helps them promote skilled labour and ensure an efficient and inclusive Canadian labour market. 

LMIA applications for Temporary Foreign Workers 

Canadian employers can submit an LMIA application to hire a temporary foreign worker (TFW) under the following streams. 

  • High wage stream- The LMIA application will fall under the high-wage category if the offered wage exceeds the median hourly wage of the province. The employer must have a transition plan ready when applying for LMIA for a High-wage position. It details how the employer plans to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers by recruiting and training Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 
  • Low-wage streams- The LMIA application will fall under the low-wage category if the offered wage is below the median wage in the province. The employer also has to fulfil certain obligations towards the TFW, including: 
    • Paying for the round-trip transportation cost to allow foreign workers to arrive at their place of work in Canada and return home at the end of the contract. 
    • Arranging suitable and affordable housing ( costing less than 30% of before-tax income). 
    • Paying for the TFW’s private health insurance if the province’s health insurance system does not cover them. 
    • Ensuring the workplace security of TFW through workplace safety insurance and adequate protection/ training when dealing with potentially hazardous substances. 
    • The employer must also provide a completed and signed employment agreement before their first day of work. 
  • Primary agriculture positions- This LMIA application deals with occupations related to primary agriculture, including the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, Agricultural Stream etc. 
  • Applications to support Permanent residency- This LMIA application allows employers to support the permanent residency application of a candidate.  
  • Global Talent Stream- This stream allows innovative firms in Canada to hire foreign nationals with unique and specialized skills necessary for their growth. 
  • Caregiver positions- The Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW) allows families to apply for an LMIA and hire foreign caregivers for children, seniors and persons with certified medical needs if there are no Canadians or Permanent residents available for the position. 
  • Academic positions- This stream helps degree-granting post-secondary institutions meet staffing needs by applying for an LMIA and hiring foreign academics. 

Conditions that an employer must meet before applying for an LMIA 

The ESDC requires Canadian employers to fulfil some recruitment and advertising criteria before applying for an LMIA. They apply to both high-wage and low-wage positions. 

The objective is to confirm that the job has no takers among Canadian citizens or permanent residents and, thus, requires foreign workers. 

As per their website, employers are required to: 

  • Advertise the position on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. 
  • Conduct at least two other recruitment initiatives that target eligible candidates and are national in scope. They must also target underrepresented groups like Indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, newcomers and persons with disabilities. 

The job advertisement must be within three months of the LMIA application and lasts for a minimum of four consecutive weeks within this period. 

The ESDC also requires one of the three recruitment campaigns to be active until the results of the LMIA application are issued. 

How much does an LMIA application cost? 

An LMIA has a processing fee of CDN $ 1000. 

Do you need a positive LMIA to apply for a Canadian work permit? 

Canada recognizes two kinds of work permits- an Employer-specific and an Open work permit. The two offer differing levels of freedom and employment conditions, as listed below: 

Employer-specific work permit 

Open work permit 

An employer-specific work permit allows its holder to work in Canada for a specific employer and at a specific location. 

This type of work permit requires the following: 

  • A copy of the employment contract and 
  • A copy of the employer’s LMIA (unless you are an LMIA-exempted worker) 
An open work permit allows a holder to work for any employer in Canada.  

Since it is not job-specific, an open-work permit does not require an LMIA. 

As shown above, an Employer-specific work permit requires an LMIA from your Canadian-based employer, while an Open work permit does not require an LMIA. 

Do you need a positive LMIA to apply for Express entry? 

Your employer will require a positive LMIA unless your job offer is exempt from an LMIA. 

Which job offers are exempted from LMIA? 

There are some exceptions where your Canadian employer does not need a positive LMIA to support your Express Entry application. Below are some LMIA-exempted jobs for Express Entry: 

  • Jobs covered by an International agreement like Canada-US- Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) 
  • Jobs covered by an agreement between Canada and a province 
  • Jobs exempted for “Canadian interest” reasons 
  • For significant benefit 
  • Reciprocal employment- 
  • Professional coaches and athletes in Canadian teams. 
  • the International Experience Canada (IEC) 
  • Professors and visiting lecturers in exchange programs 
  • Minister-designated 
  • Academics, visiting professors etc., sponsored through a recognized federal program 
  • Medical residents and fellows, post-doctoral fellows and people who won academic awards in Canadian schools 
  • Charity and religious work 


The article should give you an understanding of the Labour Market Impact Assessment and its vital role in the economic immigration process. It holds Canadian employers accountable for any foreign hires by having them prove the need for a foreign worker and the absence of a Canadian alternative. 

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou is a content writer with SettleCanada. He is a Political Sciences graduate and a keen follower of international affairs and contemporary history. He has a background in publishing and regularly dabbles in writing and game development projects. Janggoulal currently writes on issues related to Canadian Immigration.