If you have a job offer in Canada and want to get a work permit, the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) route may be the way to proceed. However, foreign workers and Canadian employers alike should know that the LMIA process is far from straightforward.

This page outlines details about Canada’s LMIA system for work permits, including who might be eligible and how to apply for an LMIA.

Labour Market Impact Assessment

Canada’s LMIA process serves as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is ready, willing, and able to fill a specific position in Canada, and so the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker. In order to obtain an LMIA, employers must advertise the position for at least four weeks and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Only then, and only if the business can prove that those interviewees did not fulfil the job description, may the business be given the green light to hire a foreign worker. The worker must then apply for a Canadian work permit, supported by the LMIA, before beginning work in Canada.

LMIA applications are detailed and require lots of documentation and statistical tabulation. Examples include a numerical breakdown of the number of Canadian applicants for the position, the number of offers of employment made, and the number of unqualified applicants. Employers must provide a written description of why each un-hired Canadian was not qualified for the job. Not all work permit types require a LMIA to be issued; work permit streams that are LMIA-exempt come under the International Mobility Program.

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