Canadian employers can apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a foreign worker under the eight (8) main streams. It is very important to select the correct type of LMIA. In fact, it will determine the requirements that must be met, including for an employer’s eligibility, job advertisement, and which application forms to complete.
8 LMIA Streams
1. Low-Wage LMIA. If the salary offered to a foreign worker is below a provincial or territorial median hourly wage. Application forms for low-wage positions can be found here.
2. High-Wage LMIA. The wage offered to a temporary worker like Business Owners is at or higher than a provincial or territorial median hourly wage. Application forms for high-wage positions can be found here.
3. LMIA for Agricultural Workers. To hire foreign workers only for on-farm primary agriculture activity (find below the list of all eligible commodity sectors). Application forms for agricultural workers can be found here.
4. LMIA for Seasonal Agricultural Workers. To hire citizens of approved countries to perform on-farm primary agriculture activity (find below the list of all participating countries and eligible commodity sectors). The application form to hire seasonal agricultural workers can be downloaded here.
5. LMIA to Support a Permanent Residency (PR) Visa Application. Only for high-wage jobs under Skill Type and Level A and B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC). Application forms for LMIA to support PR can be found here.
6. Dual Intent LMIA. It has two purposes: support PR and work permit applications at the same time. The application form for LMIA to support PR can be found here.
7. LMIA for Global Talent Stream. Under this stream, 1) innovative firms in Canada referred by the designated referral partners can hire unique and specialized foreign nationals, or 2) Canadian companies can hire for in-demand highly-skilled positions that are listed on the Global Talent Occupations List.
8. LMIA for In-home Caregivers. Canadians can hire foreign caregivers to care for children, seniors, or persons with certified medical needs in the private household. Find below the list of eligible caregiver jobs under this LMIA stream. The application form to apply for a Live-In Caregiver LMIA can be found here.
Difference Between the High-Wage and Low-Wage LMIA Streams
The wage offered to a foreign worker determines under which stream to apply. If the salary is at or higher than a provincial or territorial median hourly wage, then the high-wage stream, if below – the low-wage stream.
For instance, in Ontario, the provincial median wage is 23.08 $/hour. Thus, if the Canadian employer offers 24 $/hour to a temporary foreign worker, then the correct application will be under the high-wage stream.
Below is the list of the median wages for all Canadian provinces.
Median hourly wages by province or territory as of April 22, 2019 ($/hour)
Alberta – $26.67
British Columbia – $23.98
Manitoba – $21.00
New Brunswick – $20.00
Newfoundland and Labrador – $22.00
Northwest Territories – $34.00
Nova Scotia – $20.00
Nunavut – $30.00
Ontario – $23.08
Prince Edward Island – $19.49
Quebec – $22.00
Saskatchewan – $24.52
Yukon – $30.00
Before applying under the high-wage stream, an employer would be required to advertise a job in at least three sources for four consecutive weeks. Compared to that, the low-wage stream requires advertising in at least five sources.
LMIA application must be submitted within three months from the beginning of the advertisement, and a processing fee of 1,000 $ is required per 1 worker. Only Canadian employers, and never foreign workers, should pay government fees for an assessment.
LMIA to Support Foreign Worker’s Application for a Permanent Resident Visa or “Dual Intent LMIA”
Employers may offer a permanent job for at least one year after a foreign worker gets a permanent resident visa through Express Entry.
LMIA to support PR can only be made for jobs under Skill Type and Level A and B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC). If a positive ESDC’s LMIA is granted (called a valid job offer or arranged employment), then a prospective worker will get additional Express Entry points – 200 points for an offer in a NOC 00 job, and 50 points for arranged employment in NOC 0, A or B job. This will increase workers’ CRS scores in the Express Entry system, and chances to immigrate to Canada, respectively. LMIAs supporting permanent residence only, have no cost, and the processing service standard is ten business days.
Employers may also consider a Dual Intent LMIA if they need to fill a vacancy quickly but intend to retain the worker permanently. It will support the foreign national’s application for a permanent resident visa and temporary work permit. However, dual intent LMIA requires payment of 1,000$ processing fee.
Difference Between the Agricultural Stream and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
The similarity is that under both agricultural programs employers can hire foreign workers only in the following commodity sectors: apiary products, fruits, vegetables (including canning/processing of these products, if grown on the farm), mushrooms, flowers, nursery-grown trees including Christmas trees, greenhouses/nurseries, pedigreed canola seed, sod, tobacco, bovine, dairy, duck, horse, mink, poultry, sheep, swine. The activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture.
However, under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, Canadian employers can hire only foreign workers – citizens of specified countries: Mexico and Caribbean countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Also, the difference is in LMIA duration. Under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, a maximum employment period is eight months (minimum 240 work hours within every six weeks or less), between January 1 and December 15. While the maximum LMIA duration under the Agricultural Stream is two years.
Under these streams, employers are also required to find, and select Canadians and permanent residents through recruitment efforts. Advertisement must be posted for 14 days during the three months before applying for LMIA.
Global Talent Stream LMIA
There are two categories under the Global Talent Stream.
Category A. This option allows innovative firms in Canada to hire unique and specialized foreign nationals. It is only subject to a condition that Canadian designated referral partners validate such a firm for meeting the following requirements: Canadian-based firm, innovation-oriented, has an intention to grow and scale-up, seeks to fill a unique and specialized position and identified a foreign worker for hire. Up to two referrals are normal practice under this category.
Category B. Canadian companies can hire for in-demand highly-skilled positions that are listed on the Global Talent Occupations List. For Category B in-demand occupations, there are minimum wage requirements that must be met too.
Learn more about Canada Global Talent Stream Program overview and requirements.
Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
There are certain circumstances when foreign caregivers may be hired by Canadians. So, families in Canada can hire caretakers for:
children under 18 years of age
someone who needs help from a home support worker either in your own home or in your employer’s home
A caregiver must be employed on a full-time basis (30 hours per week, at a minimum). Categories or occupations eligible for Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot are: