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The LMIA Process Demystified for Employers:  Navigating the Canadian ‘Labour Market Impact Assessment’

The Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA is a very important piece of the puzzle for Canadian employers hoping to hire foreign workers. This process can initially seem daunting and complex, but this blog hopes to somewhat demystify the LMIA, and provide clear guidance on how employers can learn to navigate it.

What is an LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that Canadian employers need to obtain before hiring outside the country, and serves as proof that hiring said worker will not negatively impact the Canadian labour market. Essentially, it demonstrates that there is a genuine need for a foreign worker to fill the position, and that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available.

Why is an LMIA Important?

An LMIA is critical for two primary reasons:

  1. Compliance with Immigration Laws: It ensures that Canadian immigration policies have been followed and are upheld, as well as protecting the local labour market from saturation, and

  2. Work Permit Applications: Foreign workers almost always require their employer to have an approved LMIA (in addition to a job offer letter or a contract) to apply for a work permit.

Steps to Navigate the LMIA Process

  1. Determine if an LMIA is Needed Although vitally important the majority of the time, not all job positions necessarily require an LMIA. For instance, jobs under the International Mobility Program (IMP) are LMIA-exempt, so initially we need to ensure that the position you are hiring for indeed requires the assessment. Next, we

  2. Advertise the Job Employers must advertise the job vacancy across multiple platforms for at least four weeks to ensure no local candidates are available for the position. The job advertisement should be comprehensive, detailing job requirements, wage, and working conditions. This step is important to prove that reasonable efforts were made to hire a Canadian worker first. Once this is done we can

  3. Prepare and Submit the LMIA Application The LMIA application involves submitting various documents, including our previous proof of recruitment efforts, business legitimacy documents, and the like. The application must once again demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker is essential for the position, and that the local labour market will not be negatively affected. 

  4. Pay the Processing Fee A non-refundable processing fee of CAD $1,000 per position is required. Ensuring that the payment is included with your application will help in avoiding delays.

  5. Await the LMIA Decision Once the application is submitted, ESDC will begin their review. This process can take several weeks, depending on the position(s) and markets under review. During this time the ESDC may contact you for additional information or clarification.

  6. Receive the LMIA Decision If the application is approved, you will receive a positive LMIA, which allows the foreign worker(s) to apply for a work permit. If it is denied, however, the ESDC will outline the reasons for the refusal, and you may appeal after addressing the raised issues.

Tips for a Successful LMIA Application

  • Accurate and Complete Documentation: Double-check all documents for accuracy and completeness before submission.

  • Be Transparent in your Job Advertising: Clearly outline job requirements, wages, and working conditions in the job advertisements.

  • Prepare a Strong Transition Plan: Demonstrate your commitment to transitioning to a Canadian workforce in the long term.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

  1. Incomplete Applications: Ensuring that all your required documents are included and correctly filled out will avoid processing delays.

  2. Insufficient Recruitment Efforts: Document all your recruitment activities meticulously and ensure they meet the ESDC’s requirements.

  3. Understanding Regulatory Changes: Stay updated with the latest in immigration and labour policies to stay abreast of policy changes.


Hiring international talent and navigating the LMIA process can be challenging, but with the right preparation and a little understanding of what’s required, Canadian employers can confidently hire foreign workers. At ThriveON, we specialize in guiding employers through each step of the LMIA process, avoiding some of the pitfalls and making sure you have what you need.

Contact us today if you have any questions or need assistance with your LMIA application process. Our team is here to help you leverage the international workforce pool, bring talent to your team, and drive your company’s success.

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