Some foreign workers in Canada can have their LMIA processed in 10 business days

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 6, 2023

To help Canadian employers fill labour and skills gaps in their organizations when there are no qualified and available Canadians or permanent residents (PR), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

As a condition of the work permits provided to foreign workers through this program, employers hiring foreign talent must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to demonstrate that the hire will either have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market.

On average, in the month of December 2022, LMIAs took over 21 business days to be processed across the seven streams accounted for by IRCC. These streams include the Global Talent Stream, Agricultural stream, Permanent Residence stream, High-wage stream, Low-wage stream, In-home caregivers stream and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

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However, in the following three circumstances, the processing time of an LMIA can be expedited to 10 business days.

Note: Despite the expedited processing time, employers that fall under the following categories must still meet all usual program requirements used to assess TFWP applications

LMIAs for workers in high-wage skilled trade occupations

The expedited 10 business day service standard is available for employers hiring foreign workers in the following skilled trades — deemed essential for infrastructural development and natural resource extraction, thereby qualifying as vital to Canadian economic growth — and offering a wage either at or above the median wage in the province or territory where the job is located.

Alongside the occupation’s National Occupation Classification 2021 (NOC 2021) code, the following lists all skilled trade occupations eligible under this category.

NOC 2021 CodeOccupation
72011Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
72013Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
72014Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
72020Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
72021Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
82010Supervisors, logging and forestry
Supervisors, mining and quarrying
82021Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
83110Logging machinery operators
82030Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
92010Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
Power engineers and power systems operators
92101Water and waste treatment plant operators
Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
Sheet metal workers
72104Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
Welders and related machine operators
Electricians (except industrial and power systems)
Industrial electricians
Power system electricians
72203Electrical power line and cable workers
72204Telecommunications line and cable workers
72205Telecommunications installation and repair workers
72301Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
72302Gas fitters
72400Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
72401Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
72402Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics
72403Railway carmen/women
72404Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
72406Elevator constructors and mechanics
Crane operators
Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
Water well drillers
83100Underground production and development miners
83101Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
93101Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

LMIAs for workers being paid at or above the level of the top 10%

The expedited 10 business day service standard is available for employers offering foreign workers a wage that meets or exceeds the top 10% of wages earned by Canadian citizens or PRs in the specific province or territory of work. Temporary foreign workers in this category have been deemed highly skilled in their roles with skills that are difficult to find in the Canadian labour force.

The median hourly wages effective April 30, 2022 (2019 wages) in each Canadian province and territory are as follows:

Alberta (AB): $28.85

British Columbia (BC): $26.44

Manitoba (MB): $23.00

Ontario (ON): $26.06

Quebec (QC): $25.00

Saskatchewan (SK): $25.96

Prince Edward Island (PEI): $21.63

New Brunswick (NB): $21.79

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL): $24.29

Nova Scotia (NS): $22.00

Northwest Territories (NT): $37.30

Nunavut (NU): $36.00

Yukon (YT): $32.00

LMIAs for workers in occupations with a short duration

The expedited 10 business day service standard is available for employers requesting a foreign worker hire for no greater than 120 calendar days. Similar to the first category identified above, the wage offered to the foreign worker in this instance must be at or above the provincial or territorial median in the region where the job is located.

Examples of applicable occupations under this category include roles related to handling repairs, warranties or utilizing manufacturing equipment.

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