The processing time for a standard LMIA approval depends on Service Canada. Service
Canada is authorized to process such applications, these applications usually take
3-4 month in processing. Upon approval, a positive LMIA allows the foreign worker
to apply for a work permit, which is a legal document allowing them to work legally
in the country.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Canadian employers who
wants to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages can hire
through the TFWP. As an employer you will need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment
(LMIA) from Employment and Social development Canada (ESDC) before you can hire
the foreign worker. An LMIA verifies that the job offered to a foreign national
could not be filled by a Canadian worker and the foreign worker is needed to do
The employer, if applying to hire a foreign worker through the TFWP program, needs
to pay a fee and it is subject to approval. After a positive LMIA is granted, the
employer has to submit the document to the foreign worker, who can apply for a work
permit to IRCC on the basis of that LMIA.
The International Mobility Program (IMP): Not all employers are
required to get a positive LMIA from ESDC in order to hire a foreign worker. The
International Mobility Program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers
without an LMIA. Under the IMP some categories of foreign workers are exempted from
getting an approved LMIA before being hired by a Canadian Employer. These exemptions
are based on a broader economic, cultural or competitive advantages for Canada;
and reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The International Mobility Worker Unit (IMWU) has the authority to decide if the
foreign worker falls under any of the exempted category. The employers are required
to contact IMWU and pay a compliance fee of $230 while submitting the offer of employment
through the employer portal.
An offer of employment number is generated if the candidate qualifies to work in
Canada under this program. Employers are required to pass on this number to the
the foreign worker they wish to hire. Based on that, the temporary worker can apply
for their work permit and submit to ICCRC or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The officials verify all documents and on approval, issue a work permit or a Letter
of Introduction (If the candidate is outside Canada).
A lot of different factors depend for an LMIA approval, for example, the position
being offered, region, high wage or low wage etc. A high-wage worker is someone
who has a wage which is equal or above the provincial median hourly wage. If an
employer wishes to file an LMIA for a high-wage worker, they need to submit a transition
plan. This transition plan is drafted to show the Canadian government on how the
employer is planning on reducing the reliance on the temporary workers and putting
more efforts to hire Canadians. Whereas a low-wage worker is someone who has an
hourly wage which is lower than the provincial median wage. There is no requirement
to submit a transition plan if the employer wants to hire them.
A positive LMIA does not allow a foreign worker to change their job, location or
employer because the approval was based on those specific factors. In case any of
these condition changes, the worker might have to seek for a new LMIA with the change
A temporary worker on an open work permit does not need a Canadian Employer to hire
them through IMP or TFWP. As an employer, if you are hiring a temporary worker with
an open work permit, you do not need to submit an offer of employment form or pay
the employer compliance fee.