Obtaining Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a requirement imposed on Canadian employers seeking to hire a temporary foreign worker. This is done to ensure qualified citizens or permanent residents of Canada are not ignored by foreign workers who may be prepared to work for lower wages.
A closed work permit i.e. a work permit issued to a foreign worker granting him/her permission to work for a specific job position for a specific employer is issued only upon submission of a positive LMIA by the employer.
To get a positive LMIA, the employer must show he/she has advertised the requirement in Canada and has undertaken extensive efforts to find a domestic candidate before deciding to hire a foreign worker for the position.
Exemption from LMIA—Open work permits or LMIA-exempt Work Permits
A foreign worker with an open work permit or LMIA-exempt work permit can be appointed by a Canadian employer without obtaining a positive LMIA in advance.
However, an open work permit is restricted to specific categories of applicants like destitute students or individuals with or family members of individuals with pending permanent residence or spouse or partner of skilled workers, international students, or Atlantic Immigration program applicants, and so on.
Similarly, LMIA-exempt work permits too are pretty restrictive in nature, and are not a practical option for an ordinary foreign skilled worker seeking to work and settle in Canada.
Exemption from LMIA—Provincial Nomination
Applying under Express Entry and qualifying for an ITA becomes a lot easier if you have a job offer backed by a positive LMIA.
However, this requirement is not uniformly applicable to provincial nomination programs. British Columbia’s Express Entry nomination stream exempts applicants from the LMIA requirement.
So, simply fulfilling the eligibility requirements of this BC PNP stream will ensure nomination followed by the 600-point boost to your CRS score and subsequent selection for the ITA.
Ontario’s PNP streams require employers to either have a positive LMIA or submit proof of failed efforts to recruit citizens or permanent residents of Canada for the position.
Such proof includes advertising the position through the province for a specific period of time and finalization of the foreign candidate at wages similar to the levels paid to Canadian employees performing similar duties.
Yet, provincial nomination gives you the opportunity to explore a route to Canadian permanent residence even if your offer is unlikely to easily qualify for a positive LMIA.
Exemption from LMIA— Exempt Jobs
There are jobs where employers have been specifically exempted from the LMIA requirement. These job categories include-
- Jobs covered under international agreements.
- Jobs in significant investment projects or other projects that are covered by an agreement with the federal government and a province or territory.
- Jobs exempted for providing significant benefit to Canada, or jobs to workers from countries with reciprocal advantages for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, charity and religious work, or jobs designated by the Minister as LMIA-exempt jobs.
Finally, immigration pilot programs like the Atlantic Immigration pilot often include exemption from LMIA requirements to encourage skilled workers to apply under the program.
Getting a LMIA need not always be a complicated exercise. You can explore LMIA-exempt opportunities. Or, you can consider working with an experienced immigration professional to find a simple, quick, and easy route to Canadian work permit and immigration even with the requirement of a positive LMIA.