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Corporate Immigration

LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)

YOU SELECTED THIS OPTION BECAUSE:You would like to sponsor an employee as soon as possible for a temporary work permit. (1-3 years)

Unless eligible for a Treaty Visa (such as a NAFTA Work Permit), Canadian companies who want to sponsor a foreign worker must first get “permission” from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (call it the Labour Department) to hire a non-Canadian (or permanent resident of Canada).

The approval process for hiring the foreign worker is commonly referred to as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (or LMO prior to July 2014). If a positive LMIA is granted, the foreign worker is then eligible to file a Work Permit at a visa post, or if the employee is exempt from having a TRV (visa), directly at the border or airport. If the LMIA is refused, a work permit cannot be issued.

The regular “work permit” stream is an employer-driven process. First, an applicant needs the support of an eligible employer or sponsor before submitting an application for a work permit. Upon obtaining a “positive” LMIA, the employee may then submit a work permit to the visa post serving his country. In most cases, with the notable exception of health and education workers (where a medical must be submitted at a relevant consulate prior to obtaining a work permit at the border), Americans can apply directly at the border upon arriving in Canada with an approved LMIA.

Obtaining an LMIA is notoriously difficult and Canadian employers are urged to seek other ways to legally obtain a foreign worker into Canada such as through the NAFTA work permit. Bluntly stated, the Harper administration has inflicted unprecedented and burdensome red tape, with the threat of severe sanctions for the slightest fault, to otherwise law-abiding Canadian employers who need to hire a critical foreign employee. If a Canadian employer truly needs a foreign worker, transferring a whole unit to the United States, or even in the province of Quebec, is both easier and more expedient (to the detriment of Canadian workers).

In a nutshell, the requirements to hiring a temporary foreign worker under LMIA include:

  • Compliant offer letter
  • A four-week advertising campaign (advertising the position of hire) spanning 3 mediums
  • Permanent advertising on the federal job bank
  • Prevailing wages
  • A “transition plan” (to supposedly wean employers from foreign workers)
  • Onerous forms
  • A $1000 filing fee

The reward for putting up all of the above? A one year work permit with a dozen threats of “sanctions” for non-compliance and the obligation to maintain “records” for a period of six years following the hire date.

If the employer truly needs to hire a temporary foreign worker, and LMIA remains the only viable option, we insist that you hire a firm that has day-to-day experience with the Labour certification process. Our firm, of course, can assist the employer with government forms, transition plans, and offer letters and can actively manage the onerous four-week recruitment process. This includes the recruitment campaign and the wide array of compliance requirements.

Standard LMIA Deliverables to Canadian-based Employers:

  • Foreign hiring planning and strategy and review of fast track options
  • Preparation of government forms
  • Preparation and management of a compliant recruitment campaign
  • Write-Up of ESDC-compliant Offer Letter
  • Assembly of relevant supporting documentation
  • Preparation and maintenance of an ESDC-compliant “Transition Plan”
  • Preparation of On-Site/Off-Site ESDC inspections
  • Compliance review and management
  • Interview preparation with an ESDC officer including executive summary and pointers
  • Preparation of the work permit for the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) (see below)

Standard Work Permit Deliverables to the Foreign Employee (Applicant):

  • Preparation of all CIC forms on behalf of the foreign worker
  • Filing and representation of a Work Permit to the Canadian Consulate/Embassy
  • Assembly of relevant supporting documentation
  • Interview preparation for point-of-entry conduct at the Canadian airport/border
  • Preparation and delivery of work permit packets to individual foreign employees for use at the border, including a cellphone number to the leading practitioner in case of an issue at immigration/customs