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|
|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|
|72106||Welders and related machine operators|
|72200||Electricians (except industrial and power systems)|
|72202||Power system electricians|
|72203||Electrical power line and cable workers|
|72204||Telecommunications line and cable workers|
|72205||Telecommunications installation and repair workers|
|72301||Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers|
|72400||Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics|
|72401||Heavy-duty equipment mechanics|
|72402||Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics|
|72404||Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors|
|72406||Elevator constructors and mechanics|
|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)|
|British Columbia (BC)||$26.44|
|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|
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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