February 22, 2023

In Canada, some foreign workers can get their LMIA processed in ten business days

Canada is a country that values diversity and the contribution of foreign workers to the economy. To help fill labour and skills gaps in organizations where qualified and available Canadians or permanent residents (PR) are not readily available, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is in place. However, before foreign workers can be employed in Canada, their employers must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove that the hire will either have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Although it is typical for LMIA applications to take over 21 business days to be processed, there are some exceptional cases in which employers can have their LMIAs processed in ten business days.


LMIA processing time

Before delving into the three circumstances under which LMIAs can be expedited, it is necessary to have an understanding of the LMIA processing time. As previously mentioned, in the month of December 2022, LMIAs took over 21 business days to be processed across the seven streams accounted for by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The 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.

Now, let us explore the three circumstances in which an employer can get their LMIA processed in ten business days.


1. LMIAs for workers in high-wage skilled trade occupations

The expedited 10 business day service standard is available for employers hiring foreign workers in high-wage skilled trade occupations deemed essential for infrastructural development and natural resource extraction, and thereby qualify as vital to Canadian economic growth. These occupations offer a wage either at or above the median wage in the province or territory where the job is located.

To qualify for expedited processing, an employer must hire a foreign worker in one of the following skilled trade occupations:

NOC 2021 Code Occupation
72011 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
72013 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
72014 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
72310 Carpenters
72020 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
72021 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
82010 Supervisors, logging and forestry
82020 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
82021 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
83110 Logging machinery operators
82030 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
92010 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
92011 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
92013 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
93100 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
92100 Power engineers and power systems operators
92101 Water and waste treatment plant operators
72100 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
72102 Sheet metal workers
72104 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
72105 Ironworkers
72106 Welders and related machine operators
72200 Electricians (except industrial and power systems)
72201 Industrial electricians
72202 Power system electricians
72203 Electrical power line and cable workers
72204 Telecommunications line and cable workers
72205 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
72300 Plumbers
72301 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
72302 Gas fitters
72400 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
72401 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
72402 Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics
72403 Railway carmen/women
72404 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
72406 Elevator constructors and mechanics
72500 Crane operators
73402 Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
73402 Water well drillers
83100 Underground production and development miners
83101 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
93101 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators


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

The second category of LMIA applications that may qualify for expedited processing in 10 business days is for workers being paid at or above the level of the top 10% of wages earned by Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the specific province or territory of work.

Temporary foreign workers who fall under this category are highly skilled in their roles, with skills that are difficult to find in the Canadian labour force. Employers must provide evidence that they have conducted recruitment efforts to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents but have been unsuccessful in finding suitable candidates.

To qualify for this category, the wage offered to the foreign worker must meet or exceed the top 10% of wages earned by Canadians or permanent residents in the specific province or territory of work.

The median hourly wages effective April 30, 2022 (2019 wages) in each Canadian province and territory, as mentioned earlier, will determine whether a wage meets the requirement. It's important to note that wages can change, so employers must ensure they are up-to-date with the current wages in their region.

For example, in Alberta, the top 10% of wages earned by Canadians or permanent residents in the province was $52.08 per hour. In British Columbia, it was $50.55 per hour, and in Ontario, it was $49.10 per hour.

Employers that fall under this category will need to meet all the program requirements used to assess TFWP applications. The LMIA application for this category can be processed in 10 business days, significantly reducing the wait time for employers and foreign workers.

Here are the median hourly wages effective April 30, 2022 (2019 wages) in each Canadian province and territory:

Province / Territory Median Hourly Wage (CAD)
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


3. LMIAs for workers in occupations with a short duration

LMIAs for workers in occupations with a short duration are also available under the Global Talent Stream. This stream is designed to help Canadian employers fill positions in highly skilled occupations that are in demand in Canada. The Global Talent Stream allows employers to access a faster and more predictable LMIA process, as well as work permit exemptions for highly skilled foreign workers.

To be eligible for the Global Talent Stream, the employer must be referred by one of the designated referral partners, such as the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service or the National Research Council of Canada. The occupation must be classified as skill type 0 or skill level A in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), which includes management, professional, scientific, and technical occupations.

Additionally, the employer must provide a Labour Market Benefits Plan that outlines the measures they will take to create lasting benefits for the Canadian labour market. This may include job creation, training and skills development for Canadian workers, and knowledge transfer to Canadian employees.

Once the employer is approved for the Global Talent Stream, the LMIA process can be completed within 10 business days. This allows employers to quickly fill critical positions with highly skilled foreign workers and maintain their competitiveness in the global market.

LMIAs are an important part of the process of hiring foreign workers in Canada. Employers must navigate a complex set of rules and regulations to obtain an LMIA, but the benefits of having access to the global labour market can be significant. By following the guidelines and meeting the criteria for each LMIA stream, employers can successfully bring in the workers they need to grow their businesses and contribute to the Canadian economy.


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