Understanding and applying through specialized LMIA applications
As part of hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) in Canada—under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)—companies must submit a request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This document is needed to hire a foreign worker and determine the impact of their hiring on the Canadian labour market; however, there are special applications for particular contexts in which employers want to hire a skilled foreign worker.
These specialized applications have their own set of eligibility criteria, processing times, allowances, and requirements. They are available for the following six circumstances:
This special application is for employers who want to support their TFW’s application for permanent residence (PR). Under this system, employers help sponsor their employee(s) (already residing legally in Canada, as a temporary resident) so, they might gain the necessary one year of full-time work experience and then be eligible to apply for PR through the Express Entry system of programs. Importantly, however, there is a separate system for Quebec, with its own considerations and programs (like the Quebec Experience Program).
The GTS is a special program for immigration that is reserved for skilled foreign workers that have skills in technology or STEM fields. These workers have to have skills that are extremely in-demand or scarce in Canada, in order to be considered. These TFWs are also classified as high-wage (National Occupation Class (NOC) A, or B) with annual salaries of at least $80,000. Under the GTS, companies can also apply for longer employment durations (up to three years) and must submit a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMIB), (in addition to an LMIA), demonstrating how the practices of the specific company applying will have an overall positive impact on the Canadian labour market. The GTS does also feature a multitude of benefits for the added paperwork, including:
- Faster processing times with a service standard of 10 business days (starting on the day after the application was submitted)—this standard is expected to be met at least 80% of the time;
- Personalized high-touch assistance throughout the assessment process;
- Eligibility to have work permits for highly skilled workers to be processed within two weeks—this standard is expected to be met at least 80% of the time; and;
- The ability to add and/or change multiple names on a positive GTS LMIA, with processing standards within 15-20 business days of the application update.
Quebec has its own separate program(s) to control economic immigration to its province; known as the Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP). LMIA’s will therefore be submitted to Service Canada, and to the Quebec Immigration Ministry simultaneously. At the time of this writing, Quebec has prioritized certain occupations and suspended minimum advertising requirements for other roles.
Academics are defined as any individual with at least one post-graduate degree who earns the majority of their income through teaching or conducting research as an employee of a university/university college in Canada. If the criteria is met, certain professions can even work in Canada without employers needing an LMIA (while certain others will not need a work permit either). Citizens of the United States, St. Pierre et Miquelon, and Greenland may apply for a work permit at the port of entry in Canada (if needed).
Created for workers in Primary Agriculture fields (defined by a specific set of criteria), this program allows TFWs to work in Canada as agriculture workers in a farm, nursery or greenhouse. From January 12th, 2022, to June 30th, 2023, ESDC will suspend minimum advertising requirements, making it easier for companies to hire foreign workers in these fields. Note however that often these positions are for lower-wage positions and NOC categories, and so subsequent immigration for permanent residence (PR) may be impacted as a result.
Under the TFWP, families can hire live-in caregivers for children under the age of 18, or for people with higher medical needs (persons 65 or older, or people with disabilities, chronic and/or terminal illnesses). The eligible occupations could include nurses, home support workers, live-in caregivers, and personal care attendants (among others). Workers under this program need to provide care on a full-time basis, work in the private household where the care is being provided, and meet the requirements set for by ESDC and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
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