Looking for a job in Canada? There may be an impression that the process will be hitch-free. But then, there could be challenges securing a position as a foreign skilled worker in a Canadian-owned and operated company, especially given the jaw-dropping competition in the job marketplace. As many new immigrants expect to find employment immediately, it can feel like a rude awakening when they realize what they are up against.
In light of these, a few questions often pop up that need legal answers: How does one search for work in Canada? Is sponsoring a foreign worker the only option? If sponsored, can the foreign employee still ask about a specific salary, even if the individual lives at the prevailing wage of that particular region? Find answers to these questions and more in this guide as it focuses on landing a role in Canada via LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment).
What is an LMIA?
An LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) is an evaluation mandated by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to “control admission to the labour market of foreign nationals (who are) not ordinarily resident in Canada at the time of their application to undertake specified activities.” Essential, the LMIA process is meant to streamline the hiring process for employers looking to hire a foreign worker who will eventually reside in the new country.
The LMIA allows businesses to focus their recruiting efforts on job seekers who are available to stay in the country for at least 18 months. Foreign employees are often on the front end of the recruitment process. According to this evaluation, such skilled workers can be recruited when no citizen or PR is qualified, available, or willing to take up an advertised role in the Canadian labour marketplace.
Understanding the Reality of Applying for an LMIA
There are more than 7 million foreign-born residents in Canada, which make up over 20% of the entire population. The immigration process is not only complicated for those looking for a new job; it is also complicated for employers looking to hire a foreign-born individual or bring an immigrant into the fold. As any of the thousands of immigrants and potential employers in Canada can attest, getting an application approved can be challenging.
That doesn’t go without the saying the Canadian government has “a lot of rules” and the majority of those rules are in full effect. It can be a long and arduous process — both with the government’s paperwork as well as with the requirements set by Canadian employers. But then, it is worth knowing the requirements.
Pre-requisites for Applying for an LMIA-Based Work Permit
An employer needs to be able to prove that the foreign worker is filling a position that requires a degree, diploma, certificate or trade-specific licensing. Also, the employer should be a Canadian corporation, a Canadian trade union, or a Canadian-controlled or Canadian-sponsored organization. Once this factor, alongside others previously discussed, check, the employer applies for the evaluation document.
The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) evaluates the application. As long as it meets the requirements, the agency approves it. The foreign-skilled individual can then apply for a closed work permit.
What Foreign-Skilled Workers Should Understand About LMIA-Based Employment
Securing a Canadian job through LMIA mainly rests on the employer’s shoulders as the latter is responsible for applying for this document. Not only is the employer required to prove that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for an advertised position, but the entity needs to show that there won’t be heavy reliance on foreign-hired labour, so much that it affects the Canadian labour market. This generally calls for a transition plan.
What does having a transition plan imply? To simply put, the employer is to have in place mechanisms that will either integrate temporary foreign workers into becoming citizens or permanent residents. The second option is to transfer the skills acquired by the foreign worker into willing and capable Canadians or permanent residents. Hence, the Canadian labour market remains favourable to the Canadian system.
Additionally, employers must find ways to recruit underrepresented demographics, including citizens with disabilities, young people, aborigines, and new immigrants. Following ESDC’s request, these companies must estimate how many Canadians and PRs they expect to recruit through these channels, as well as timelines. Afterwards, the agency compares the projections with the actual results to determine whether the employer qualifies for an LMIA.
Transition planning is not mandatory; however, if the employer proves that the posting is for a contract-based or highly-specialized position.
Can an LMIA Be Denied?
There is no guarantee that an application will be approved, especially given the fact that several factors come into view. To ensure that an applicant doesn’t lose hope, the employer is required to answer the agency’s queries regarding the company’s ability to support the foreign worker in the country, in contrast to the impact of such employment on the Canadian labour market.
If the employer fails to meet ESDC’s requirements regarding creating fairness in the local employment market, the application can be denied. Also, if the job description is considered too vague, the application can be rejected. Additionally, the position may not be well-suited for the person. An LMIA can be rejected for other reasons, such as a regulatory order or ministerial order based on public policy concerns.
For the former, sex industry employees and those on the IRCC ineligibility list may not qualify for LMIA approval. A decline can occur in the latter case if:
- Within the last two years, previous applications have been revoked.
- Current market capitalization is below the low-wage bracket.
- In some for-hire caregiver positions, live-in candidates are required.
- It is a retail position or a food and accommodation position.
To find a job in Canada, anyone interested first needs to find out where they stand on the requirements list. Moreover, approval does not guarantee a visa or work permit.
How much does it Cost to Apply for an LMIA?
The application fee for LMIA documentation is Can$1,000, which is for each advertised position, not the application itself. In this case, if there are 12 open positions, the total fee will be $12,000. The employer bears this cost.
In light of the LMIA-based procedure providing a platform for companies looking to employ foreign-born employees to streamline the recruitment process, employers are required to comply with all relevant regulations and to submit proper documentation. It is the responsibility of those interested in a position to apply through an authorized immigration consultant. To get a sense of where one stands, applicants may consider consulting with Canadian immigration consultants for a first-hand review.
HR Future Staff Writer