What is LMIA?

A labour market impact assessment (LMIA) is a document that a Canadian firm must obtain before hiring a foreign worker (FW). It's a government approval that allows an officer to examine the economic effects of a permanent job offer to a foreign worker in Canada. It is issued by the federal department of Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

TFWP is a program that allows Canadian employers to hire FWs provided they hire Canadians first and ensure that the workers are temporary in Canada. A company trying to hire an FWs in Canada is required to submit an LMIA application to the Canadian government. This is to show that Canadian firms tried to fill job openings with qualified Canadian citizens/permanent residents before turning to international labour.


Foreign nationals may not apply for LMIA; only Canadian employers can. The employer may apply for an LMIA as early as six months before the intended date. The LMIA application procedures depend on the wage demanded for the position. Several factors are considered when deciding whether to issue an LMIA. This includes wages, working conditions, availability of Canadian citizens/PRs to do the work, and the skills & knowledge transfer and job creation that may result from hiring a fresh FW.

A job will be classified as high-wage or low-wage, and in order to do this, the employer must consult their province's or territory's median hourly wage. If the position is low-wage, there are some additional criteria that must be met.

Requirements for LMIA application

Below are the additional LMIA application requirements that have to be addressed for low-wage positions:

Once LMIA is approved

A permanent employment offer to an FW can have one of three effects on the Canadian economy: good, negative, or neutral. A positive LMIA indicates that bringing in an FW would benefit the Canadian labour market; thus, they can proceed with the hiring process. If negative, the employer will not be receiving authorization to hire a foreign national.

Since LMIAs are valid for 6 months from the date of issue, the employer will be notifying the FW about the approval, so that they can move on to the further steps.

There is a provision for employers to have their LMIA application processed as fast as in 10 days. For this, a business must be located outside of Quebec and meet one of the following requirements:

LMIA exempt jobs

There are some cases where, a positive LMIA is not required in order to apply for a work permit. It is important to remember that being exempt from acquiring an LMIA does not mean an individual does not require a work permit. To work lawfully in Canada, a work permit is necessary