How to Get Jobs with LMIA in Canada


Canada is a popular destination for foreign workers seeking better career opportunities and a high quality of life. One key pathway for non-Canadian residents to work in Canada is through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. An LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to obtain before hiring a foreign worker. This process ensures that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian job market. This guide will explore the steps involved in securing a job with an LMIA, provide tips for success, and outline key considerations for foreign workers.

Understanding LMIA

What is an LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that gives an employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker. It verifies that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. The LMIA process is designed to protect the Canadian labor market and ensure that the hiring of foreign workers does not negatively impact job opportunities for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Types of LMIA

  1. High-Wage and Low-Wage LMIAs: The classification into high-wage or low-wage depends on the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. High-wage positions require a transition plan, whereas low-wage positions are subject to different criteria and limitations on the number of workers.
  2. LMIA for In-Demand Occupations: Certain occupations are considered in demand in specific regions of Canada. These may include roles in healthcare, IT, and skilled trades. These occupations may have a more streamlined LMIA process.
  3. LMIA for Agricultural Workers: This is specifically for positions in the agricultural sector, including seasonal agricultural workers and those under the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  4. Global Talent Stream (GTS): A category under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that allows certain skilled workers to be fast-tracked through the LMIA process. This stream is designed to fill high-demand tech positions and other skilled roles.

Step-by-Step Guide to Securing a Job with an LMIA

Step 1: Research and Identify Job Opportunities

The first step in securing a job with an LMIA is to identify potential job opportunities. Here’s how you can effectively research:

  1. Job Portals and Websites: Utilize online job portals such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Workopolis. Specifically, check the Job Bank, which is the Government of Canada’s official job site.
  2. Company Websites: Visit the careers section of companies you are interested in. Many companies advertise their open positions directly on their websites.
  3. Recruitment Agencies: Engage with recruitment agencies that specialize in hiring foreign workers. Agencies such as Randstad Canada, Hays Recruitment, and Michael Page can be valuable resources.
  4. Networking: Leverage your professional network. Platforms like LinkedIn can be particularly useful for connecting with employers and industry professionals.
  5. Industry-Specific Resources: Explore industry-specific job boards and websites. For instance, IT professionals might find job postings on sites like Stack Overflow Jobs or IT-specific recruitment agencies.

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Step 2: Understand LMIA Requirements and Criteria

Before applying for jobs, it is crucial to understand the requirements and criteria for an LMIA:

  1. Job Offer: Ensure that the job offer you receive is genuine and meets the criteria for an LMIA. The job offer should detail the position, salary, and working conditions.
  2. Employer’s Responsibilities: The employer must demonstrate that they have made sufficient efforts to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. They need to advertise the job for at least four weeks and provide a summary of the recruitment process.
  3. Wage and Working Conditions: The job must meet the prevailing wage rate and working conditions for that occupation in the region where the job is located.
  4. Transition Plan (High-Wage Positions): For high-wage positions, the employer must submit a transition plan outlining how they intend to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers.
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Step 3: Apply for Jobs

Once you have identified potential job opportunities and understand the LMIA requirements, the next step is to start applying for jobs:

  1. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter: Customize your resume and cover letter to match the job description. Highlight your skills, qualifications, and experience that align with the job requirements.
  2. Prepare for Interviews: If shortlisted, prepare thoroughly for interviews. Research the company, practice common interview questions, and be ready to discuss your qualifications and experience in detail.
  3. Communicate Your Need for an LMIA: During the application process, communicate with potential employers about your need for an LMIA. Ensure they understand the process and are willing to support your application.

Step 4: Secure a Job Offer and Employer LMIA Application

After successfully securing a job offer, the employer will need to apply for an LMIA:

  1. Job Offer Letter: The employer will provide you with a job offer letter that includes details about the position, salary, and working conditions.
  2. Employer’s LMIA Application: The employer will submit the LMIA application to ESDC. This includes filling out the necessary forms, providing evidence of recruitment efforts, and paying the required processing fee.
  3. Supporting Documents: The employer may need to provide additional documents, such as business licenses, financial statements, and evidence of compliance with labor laws.
  4. Application Processing: The processing time for an LMIA application can vary. It typically takes a few weeks, but it can be longer depending on the specific stream and circumstances.

Step 5: Work Permit Application

Once the LMIA is approved, you can apply for a work permit:

  1. LMIA Approval Letter: You will receive a copy of the LMIA approval letter from your employer.
  2. Work Permit Application: Submit your work permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Include the LMIA approval letter, job offer letter, and other required documents such as proof of identity and qualifications.
  3. Biometrics and Medical Exam: Depending on your country of residence, you may need to provide biometrics and undergo a medical exam.
  4. Application Processing: The processing time for a work permit can vary. It is advisable to apply as early as possible to avoid delays.

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Step 6: Arriving in Canada

Once your work permit is approved, you can make arrangements to move to Canada:

  1. Travel Arrangements: Book your travel and accommodation in Canada. Ensure you have all the necessary documents for entry, including your passport, work permit approval, and LMIA approval.
  2. Settlement Services: Utilize settlement services available for newcomers to Canada. These services can assist with finding housing, understanding Canadian culture, and accessing community resources.
  3. Employment Start: Upon arrival, report to your employer and begin your new job. Make sure to adhere to the terms and conditions of your work permit and employment contract.

Tips for Success

  1. Be Persistent and Patient: The LMIA process can be lengthy and complex. Be persistent in your job search and patient throughout the application process.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest information on LMIA requirements and immigration policies. Government websites and reputable immigration consultants are reliable sources.
  3. Build a Strong Profile: Ensure your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other professional profiles are well-drafted and highlight your qualifications effectively.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If needed, consult with immigration lawyers or consultants who can guide you through the LMIA and work permit application process.
  5. Network Effectively: Networking can open doors to job opportunities that are not advertised publicly. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with professionals in your field.
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Challenges and Considerations

Language Proficiency

Language proficiency, particularly in English or French, is a critical factor for success in the Canadian job market. Ensure you meet the language requirements for your profession and improve your language skills if necessary.

Credential Recognition

Certain professions in Canada require credential recognition or licensing. Research the requirements for your profession and take steps to have your qualifications recognized.

Cultural Adaptation

Adapting to the Canadian work culture and environment can be challenging. Take time to understand workplace norms, communication styles, and cultural differences.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Ensure that you and your employer comply with all legal and ethical guidelines throughout the LMIA process. Avoid fraudulent job offers and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

Cost of Lmia in Canada?

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that employers in Canada may need to obtain before hiring foreign workers. The cost of applying for an LMIA is CAD $1,000 per position as of the latest update. This fee is non-refundable, even if the application is refused. However, there are some exceptions where the fee may be waived, such as in cases involving certain in-home caregivers or employers hiring under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) for positions that support permanent residents or Canadians in certain low-wage roles.

For the most current information and any potential changes to the fees or regulations, it’s best to check the official Government of Canada website or contact Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

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Can a student get lmia in Canada?

Yes, a student in Canada can obtain an LMIA, but there are specific conditions and pathways through which this can happen.

1. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This permit allows them to work in Canada for up to three years, depending on the length of their program. During this time, they do not need an LMIA to work.

2. Transition to a Different Work Permit with LMIA

If a student is not eligible for a PGWP or their PGWP is expiring, they can transition to another type of work permit. This often requires an LMIA. Here’s how this can happen:

  • Employer Sponsorship: A student may find an employer willing to hire them and go through the LMIA process. The employer must demonstrate that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the position.

3. LMIA-Exempt Work Permits

Some work permits are LMIA-exempt, such as those under international agreements like NAFTA or CUSMA (for U.S. and Mexican citizens), or through intra-company transfers, significant benefit work permits, or open work permits for spouses/partners.

Steps for Obtaining an LMIA

  1. Job Offer: The student must first receive a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  2. Employer Applies for LMIA: The employer applies to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for an LMIA.
  3. LMIA Approval: If the LMIA is approved, the employer provides a copy to the student.
  4. Work Permit Application: The student applies for a work permit using the positive LMIA.


  • Proof of Labor Market Needs: The employer must prove that they cannot find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the job.
  • Processing Time: The LMIA application process can be time-consuming and may take several weeks or months.
  • Employer’s Willingness: Not all employers are willing to go through the LMIA process due to its complexity and cost.

Practical Tips for Students

  • Build Relationships: Network and build relationships with potential employers during your studies. Co-op programs and internships can be excellent pathways.
  • Career Services: Utilize the career services offered by your educational institution to find employers familiar with hiring international graduates.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up to date with immigration policies and pathways that might offer alternatives to needing an LMIA.

In summary, while it is possible for a student to obtain an LMIA, it often involves finding an employer willing to sponsor them and going through the necessary application process. Many students leverage their PGWP first to gain Canadian work experience, which can eventually lead to more permanent employment opportunities that may require an LMIA.

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