Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Process in Canada

Labour Market Impact Assessment

Working in Canada comes with its unique set of rules and documents, one of which is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). For Canadian employers, the LMIA serves as a crucial prerequisite before hiring foreign workers. It’s a document provided by Employment and Social Development Canada that indicates the need for a foreign individual to fill a specific job because a suitable candidate couldn’t be found within Canada.

In this article, we will guide you through the essentials of LMIA in a simple manner. You will gain insights into who needs it, how to obtain it, and what happens after it’s approved. We will even explore methods to speed up the process. So, whether you are an employer seeking international talent to grow your team or a worker dreaming of a new chapter in Canada, join us as we uncover the details of the LMIA process.

Table of Contents

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a crucial document Canadian employers require before engaging a foreign worker. This document is provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which evaluates the effect of employing a foreign individual in Canada. When the LMIA is positive, it signifies the unavailability of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for a job, allowing the employer to hire a foreign national. At times, a positive LMIA is also called a confirmation letter. Conversely, a negative LMIA suggests that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident should fill the position.

Employers seeking to hire a foreign worker must initiate the Labour Market Impact Assessment application process. Following the acquisition of the LMIA, the worker can proceed to apply for a work permit. To obtain a work permit, the worker need:

  • A job offer letter
  • A contract
  • A copy of the LMIA
  • The LMIA number

When do Labour Market Impact Assessments Expire?

Until April 30, 2024, LMIA remains valid for up to 12 months from the date of issuance. Starting May 1, 2024, an LMIA will be valid for up to 6 months from the date of issuance.

The expiration date of an LMIA signifies the timeframe within which:

  • Employers are required to inform the temporary foreign worker of the LMIA’s approval.
  • Employers must send the positive LMIA letter to the temporary foreign worker.
  • Temporary foreign workers need to initiate the application process for a work permit at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Employers who have not included the names of temporary foreign workers in their LMIA applications must continue to try to recruit Canadians and permanent residents until they select a temporary foreign worker.

Failure to complete the aforementioned steps within the validity period makes the LMIA invalid, requiring employers to submit a new LMIA application to hire a temporary foreign worker.

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Who needs a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

Certain employers hiring temporary workers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment before the worker can apply for a work permit. This section covers essential details about the LMIA, necessary for certain employers looking to hire temporary workers from outside Canada. It also includes valuable information for individuals seeking job opportunities in Canada,  guiding both employers and workers through the LMIA process.

For Employers

Before hiring someone from another country for a temporary job, most employers need to get an LMIA. Check if you need an LMIA before you start hiring.

An LMIA validates two key aspects:

  • Requirement for a temporary foreign worker.
  • Unavailability of Canadians or permanent residents for the job.

To determine if you and the temporary foreign worker you wish to hire are exempt from needing an LMIA or work permit, take one of the following actions:

  • Check the LMIA exemption codes and work permit exemptions (given below).
  • Choose the LMIA exemption or work permit code that best fits your hiring scenario and read the detailed description.
  • If an exemption code applies to you, ensure to include it in your job offer. (OR)
  • If you are hiring a temporary foreign worker who is currently outside Canada, you can contact the International Mobility Workers Unit. This also applies even if the worker is from a country whose nationals are exempt from needing a visa.

For Workers

Generally, most individuals require a work permit to work in Canada. If you find that you need a work permit, you might be eligible for either:

  • An employer-specific work permit, or
  • An open work permit.

To gain clarity on:

  • Whether you need a work permit.
  • Identifying the right kind of work permit for your circumstances.
  • Any specific instructions needed for the application process.

You can utilize this tool to guide you through the process.

LMIA Exemption Codes

Under various legislative sections, distinct LMIA exemption codes are assigned to cater to different scenarios. These codes serve to exempt individuals from the requirement of a Labor Market Impact Assessment for certain situations. They are guided by specific rules and policies established by Canadian immigration authorities.

The LMIA exemption codes are listed in the following tables, presenting a breakdown of codes related to different immigration policies and scenarios.

A25.2: Public policies

The following is an overview of the key public policies issued under A25.2, highlighting the different LMIA exemption codes and their respective timelines for implementation.

ActLMIA exemption code: December 14 and beforeLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Public policies issued under the A25.2 (inside Canada)
– Guidance for special measures to support Hong Kong residents to come to Canada.
– Public policy: Open work permits for applicants under the temporary resident to PR pathway.


Temporary public policy: Graphic designers working on live-action television or film in Canada (September 10, 2021 to March 9, 2022).

Temporary public policy to facilitate the issuance of an open work permit to former/current post-graduation work permit holders (June 13 to December 31, 2022).
Public policies issued under the A25.2 (outside Canada)
– Guidance for special measures to support Hong Kong residents to come to Canada.

R204: International agreements or arrangements

The following details the LMIA exemption codes under R204(a) and their respective regulations, categorizing and outlining the diverse categories of exemptions for international personnel.

RegulationLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and afterLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Canada–International Non-Trade Agreements

Unique work situations:
– Airline personnel (operational, technical, and ground personnel)
– United States government personnel
CUSMA TraderT21T34
CUSMA InvestorT22T35
CUSMA ProfessionalT23T36
CUSMA ICT Executive or Senior ManagerT24T37
CUSMA ICT Specialized knowledgeT24T38
Colombia – TraderT21F10
Colombia – InvestorT22F11
Colombia – Professionals or TechniciansT23F12
Colombia – ICT Executive or Senior ManagerT24F13
Colombia – ICT Management TraineeT24F14
Colombia – ICT Specialized knowledgeT24F15
Colombia – SpouseT25T25
Chile – TradersT21F20
Chile – InvestorsT22F21
Chile – ProfessionalsT23F22
Chile – ICT Executive or Snr ManagerT24F23
Chile ICT Specialized knowledgeT24F24
Korea, South – TradersT21F30
Korea, South – InvestorsT22F31
Korea, South – Contract Service Suppliers or Independent ProfessionalT23F32
Korea, South – ICT Executive or Snr ManagerT24F33
Korea, South – ICT Management TraineeT24F34
Korea, South – ICT Specialized knowledgeT24F35
Korea, South – SpouseT25F36
Panama – Professionals or TechniciansT23F42
Peru – TradersT21F50
Peru – InvestorsT22F51
Peru – Professionals or TechniciansT23F52
Peru – ICT Executives or Snr ManagersT24F53
Peru – ICT – Management TraineesT24F54
Peru – ICT – Specialized knowledgeT24F55
GATS professionalT33T33
CETA InvestorT46T46
CETA Contractual service supplierT47T47
CETA Engineering technologists and scientific technologistsT48T48
CETA Independent professionalT43T43
CETA ICT Executives or Senior ManagerT44T44
CETA ICT Graduate TraineesT44T42
CETA ICT Specialized knowledgeT44T41
CETA Spouse of Intra-corporate transferee (T44, T42 or T41)T45T45
CPTPP InvestorT50T50
CPTPP ICT Executive and Senior ManagerT51T51
CPTPP ICT Management TraineeT51T54
CPTPP ICT Specialized knowledgeT51T55
CPTPP Professional or technicianT52T52
CPTPP SpouseT53T53
UK Independent professionalsT43F60
UK – ICT – Executives or Snr ManagersT44F61
UK – ICT – Management TraineesT44F62
UK – ICT – Specialized knowledgeT44F63
UK Spouses of Intra-corporate transferees (F61, F62 or F63)T45F64
UK InvestorsT46F65
UK Contractual service suppliersT47F66
UK Engineering Technologists and Scientific TechnologistsT48F67

R204(b) Provincial/territorial-international exemption codes

At present, there are no agreements currently approved within the Provincial/Territorial International Exemption Codes under R204(b).

R204(c) Canada-provincial/territorial exemption codes

R204(c) covers LMIA exemptions for Canada’s provincial and territorial nominations, significant investments, and exceptional events (e.g., natural disasters), and includes the Atlantic Immigration Program.

RegulationLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and afterLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
– Nominated by a province for permanent residence
– Significant Investment Projects
– Exceptional or Unforeseen Events (such as natural disasters)
Atlantic Immigration ProgramC18C18

R205: Canadian interests

R205(a) outlines special work situations and exemptions benefiting Canada. It covers roles like foreign physicians, self-employed business owners, and experts working in unique fields, providing substantial value to Canadian interests.

RegulationLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and afterLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Significant benefit

Unique work situations:
– Airline personnel (foreign airline security guards)
– Interns with international organizations recognized under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
– Rail grinder operators, rail welders or other specialized track maintenance workers
– Experts on mission, working for a United Nations office in Canada
– Foreign physicians coming to work in Quebec
– Caribbean Agricultural Liaison Officers
Self-employed business owner

Unique work situations:
– Fishing guides (Canadian lakes)
– Foreign camp owner or director, and outfitters
– Foreign freelance race jockeys
Provincial business candidates or Quebec self-employed applicants with a CSQC11C60
Spouses and dependants at the age of majority of caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted under the HCCPP or HSWPC12C62
ICT – Specialized knowledgeC12C63
ICT – employees starting a branch or affiliateC12C61
Emergency repair or repair personnel for out-of-warranty equipmentC13C13
Television and film production workersC14C14
Rural and Northern Immigration PilotC15C15
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot spousesC17C17
Francophone mobilityC16C16
Live-in caregivers whose permanent residence application is submittedA71A71
Caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted under the Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCPP) or Home Support Worker Pilot (HSWP) (occupation-restricted open work permit)C90C90
Spouses and dependants at age of majority of caregivers whose permanent residence application is submitted under the HCCPP or HSWPC91C91
Bridging open work permits (BOWPs)A75A75
Start-up business class (SUV) permanent resident visa applicantsA75A77
Certain Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders currently in QuebecA75A73
Open work permit pilot for permanent residence applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) classA74
Permanent resident facilitation work permit categories
– Caregivers under the HCCPP or HSWP
– Yukon Community Pilot (YCP)
Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders currently outside QuebecA76A76

R205(b) Reciprocal employment exemption codes

R205(b) covers reciprocal employment exemptions, specifically for unique work roles like fishing guides, coaches, and international exchange programs. These exemptions streamline work arrangements between Canada and other nations for individuals in these roles.

RegulationLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and afterLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Reciprocal employment

Unique work situations:
– Fishing guides (border lakes)
– United States government personnel (family members)
Residential summer camp counsellorsC20C24
Coaches and AthletesC20C26
International Experience Canada ProgramC21C21
Academic exchanges (professors, visiting lecturers)C22C22
Performing artsC23C23

R205(c) Designated by Minister

R205(c)(i) focuses on research-related LMIA exemption codes. It covers roles in research and educational cooperatives at both post-secondary and secondary levels. These exemptions aim to facilitate research and educational opportunities in Canada.

RegulationLMIA exemption code: December 14 and beforeLMIA exemption code: December 14 and before
Educational co-op – post-secondaryC32C32
Educational co-op – secondary levelC33C33

R205(c)(ii) highlights LMIA exemption codes related to competitiveness and public policy. It covers various categories, including spouses of high-skilled workers, post-graduates, medical residents, and more, with the aim of supporting the competitiveness and public policy goals of Canada.

ActLMIA exemption code: December 14 and beforeLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Spouses or common-law partners of high – skilled workers (TEER 0 through 3)C41C41
Spouses or common-law partners of full-time studentsC42C42
Post-grad employmentC43C43
Post-doctoral Ph.D. fellowsC44C44
Medical residents and fellowsC45C45
Dependent child of a high-skilled worker (TEER 0 to 3)C46
Spouse or common-law partner of a low-skilled worker (TEER 4 or 5)C47
Dependent child of a low-skilled worker (TEER 4 or 5)C48
Family members of Economic PR applicantsC41C49
Academic Award recipientsC44C52

R205(d) pertains to LMIA exemption codes for charitable and religious work. This category helps people doing religious or charity work by giving them special permission that supports their contributions to these important activities.

ActLMIA exemption code: December 14 and beforeLMIA exemption code: December 15, 2022 and after
Religious workC50C50
Charitable workC50C51

R206: No other means of support

R206 deals with situations where people have no other way to get support. It gives exemptions to specific groups like refugee claimants and those facing an unenforceable removal order. This helps them access support when they have no other options.

RegulationLMIA exemption code
a. Refugee claimantsS61
b. Persons under an unenforceable removal orderS62

R207: Permanent residence applicants in Canada

R207 covers LMIA exemption codes for people applying for permanent residence in Canada. It includes various individuals like live-in caregivers, spouses, protected persons, and their family members. These exemptions help these individuals on their journey to become permanent residents.

RegulationLMIA exemption code
Permanent residence applicants in Canada:
– Live-in-caregiver class (LCP)
– Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (after eligibility passed)
– Protected persons under subsection A95(2)
– Section A25 exemption (humanitarian and compassionate grounds)
– Family members of the above

R207.1: Vulnerable workers

R207.1 deals with LMIA exemption codes for vulnerable workers and their families. These exemptions aim to support and protect workers who might be at risk in their jobs, ensuring their safety and rights are preserved.

RegulationLMIA exemption code
1. Vulnerable workersA72
2. Family member of vulnerable workerA72

R208: Humanitarian Reasons

R208 covers LMIA exemption codes for humanitarian reasons. It includes exemptions for destitute students and individuals holding a temporary resident permit for at least six months. These exemptions aim to assist in humanitarian situations and support those facing specific challenges.

RegulationLMIA exemption code
Destitute studentsH81
Holders of a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of 6 monthsH82

Securing Canadian CRS Points: Valid Job Offer & LMIA Requirements

Securing additional points within Canada’s Express Entry system through a valid job offer is based on specific criteria. These include:

  • 50 Points: Most job offers meeting specific criteria, including full-time employment, one year’s duration, and LMIA in a skilled field.
  • 200 Points: Limited to specific senior positions available only for Canadian citizens.

Criteria for Claiming Points

You can claim points for a job offer if:

  • Your job is full-time, paid for at least one year, and in a skilled field with an LMIA.
  • Your employer has a positive LMIA naming you, or you are already working for the employer on your work permit.
  • You have a valid work permit for an LMIA-exempt job and meet certain experience and duration criteria.

Important Considerations

In seeking additional points through a job offer within the Express Entry system, it’s crucial to note the following:

  • Necessity of an LMIA or LMIA-Exempt Occupation: Qualifying for these additional points mandates having either a job offer supported by an LMIA or one falling within the LMIA-exempt category.
  • Limitations with Open Work Permits: CRS points for a job offer cannot be obtained with an open work permit, such as the PGWP, without the employer providing an LMIA.

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Regulatory Authorization to Work without a Work Permit

The section includes a comprehensive list of categories (R186 and public policies) under the International Mobility Program. These include various professions and scenarios where individuals are permitted to work in Canada without needing a separate work permit.

Check general information and essential details about employment under the International Mobility Program without requiring a permit.

  • R186(a) – Business visitors
  • R186(b) – Foreign representatives
  • R186(c) – Family members of foreign representatives
    – Locally engaged staff of diplomatic and consular missions and international organizations: Reciprocal employment (LMIA exemption code C20)
  • R186(d) – Military personnel
    – Military personnel and family members
  • R186(e) – Foreign government officers
  • R186(f) – On-campus employment
  • R186(g) – Performing artists
    – Artistic and performing arts occupations – Authorization to work without a work permit (International Mobility Program)
  • R186(h) – Athletes and team members
  • R186(i) – News reporters, media crews
  • R186(j) – Public speakers
  • R186(k) – Convention organizers
    – Sales
  • R186(l) – Religious leaders
  • R186(m) – Judges, referees, and similar officials
  • R186(n) – Examiners and evaluators
  • R186(o) – Expert witnesses or investigators
  • R186(p) – Short-term students in a foreign healthcare program
    – Immigration medical examination: Health care students who are work permit-exempt
  • R186(q) – Civil aviation inspector
  • R186(r) – Aviation accident or incident inspector
  • R186(s) – Crew
  • R186(t) – Emergency service providers
  • R186(u) – Pending decision on work permit renewal
  • R186(v) – Off-campus work
  • R186(w) – Transition to work permit
  • R186(x) – Registered Indians

Public policy authorization to work without a permit

The Public Policy section outlines specific exemptions enabling work in Canada without a permit. 

  • Public policy: Short-term work permit exemption
  • Public policy: 120-day work permit exemption for researchers

Registered Indians

According to paragraph 186(x) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, individuals recognized as registered Indians as per the Indian Act are not required to apply for a work permit.

For additional details about confirming registered Indian status, refer to section 10, which covers the examination of individuals registered under the Indian Act at ports of entry, found in ENF 4: Port of entry examinations (PDF, 1.6 MB).

How to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

To obtain an LMIA, you need to make a request to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The process for applying for an LMIA relies on the specific program through which you are planning to hire. Discover how to seek an LMIA to employ:

What happens after Labour Market Impact Assessment is Approved?

Once the LMIA application is reviewed, employers will receive the decision. If it’s a positive LMIA, the employer can move forward and hire a foreign national. But if it’s a negative LMIA, the employer isn’t permitted to hire a foreign national. Positive LMIA decisions are valid for 6 months from the date they are issued. After getting a positive LMIA, the employer needs to inform the foreign national so they can apply for their work permit or permanent residence.

In some cases, employers can request to speed up their LMIA application, aiming for processing within 10 days. To be eligible for this faster process, the employer should be outside Quebec and meet one of these conditions:

  • Highest-paying jobs: Salaries within the top 10% of what Canadians earn in that province/territory.
  • Skilled Trades: Paid at least the average wage for that position in the province/territory.
  • Short-term positions: Jobs lasting 120 days or less.
  • Express Entry: LMIA supports an Express Entry candidate.

FAQs on Labour Market Impact Assessment

Following are some of the frequently asked questions and their respective answers related to the Labour Market Impact Assessment:

Q. What is LMIA Canada?
A. An LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment, is a crucial document required by Canadian employers who are planning to hire a foreign worker. A positive LMIA indicates the need for hiring a foreign worker for a specific job. It also shows that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the position.

Q. Can LMIA lead to PR?
A. Getting a positive LMIA doesn’t mean skilled foreign workers can automatically move to Canada. But if they want to become permanent residents, they have to follow all the rules in the Express Entry immigration process.

Q. Who is eligible for LMIA in Canada?
A. Any employer in Canada seeking to hire a foreign worker can apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment if they can’t find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the role. This applies to both small businesses and large corporations.

Q. Can LMIA be rejected?
A. Under Ministerial Instructions, ESDC might reject a Labour Market Impact Assessment application based on specific public policy considerations. These could include low-wage positions above the current cap and in-home caregiver roles with live-in requirements. Or any position if the employer previously had an LMIA revoked within the last 2 years.

Q. How can I get an LMIA work permit?
A. The Canadian employer needs to apply for the LMIA through ESDC to get the LMIA. Upon approval, the foreign worker can then initiate the work permit application. However, simply obtaining an LMIA approval is insufficient to bring a foreign worker to Canada; they must meet all the work permit requirements.

Also, check:

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