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A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document provided by Employment and Social Development Canada that may be needed by Canadian employers before hiring a foreign worker.

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An LMIA gives:

Canadian employers permission to hire a temporary foreign worker. It is a prerequisite for employers of certain types of temporary workers, so that their prospective employees

Obtaining a positive LMIA indicates:

That there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job vacancy that a Canadian worker or permanent resident is unable to fulfill. A positive LMIA is also referred to as a confirmation letter.

An LMIA confirms that:

There is a legitimate need for a temporary foreign worker

There are no Canadians or permanent residents available to fill a job vacancy due to a shortage of skilled labour LMIA


It's not always as simple as filling out an application form to get a positive LMIA, also known as a confirmation letter.

Through Employment and Social Development Canada, you must submit an LMIA (ESDC). Each employer's application procedures will be unique, and they will change based on the hiring stream:

  • High-paid employees
  • Low-paid employees
  • The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program’s participants
  • Employees in the Agricultural stream
  • Long-Term Residency 
  • Caregiver 


Find out if you require an LMIA before hiring a temporary foreign worker. There are a few instances where an LMIA is not required before hiring a temporary foreign worker.


An employee may be exempt from an LMIA if:

  • They are also exempt from needing a work permit to work in Canada in accordance with the International Mobility Program
  • Their type of work falls under a work permit code that is exempt from needing an LMIA

Foreigners of certain nationalities who may be from a visa-exempt country may also be exempt from needing an LMIA.

If your prospective temporary foreign employee does not fall under one of the exemptions mentioned above, you may need to apply for an LMIA.

Recruitment Process

Employers must demonstrate that they have a recruitment procedure in place before they can apply for an LMIA in most provinces in order to give equitable employment opportunities to Canadians and Canadian permanent residents. Prior to contemplating recruiting a foreign worker, employers must be ready to post job openings for at least 30 days in the national or provincial employment bank. Until the employer has gotten a favorable LMIA, the advertisement cannot be removed. For specific jobs or LMIA streams, exemptions may be applicable. Depending on the stream, some employers would additionally be required to post the job opening on websites that cater to certain Canadian demographics.


After considering a number of criteria that the employers must satisfy, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) issues a favorable LMIA. Depending on the type of program you're hiring via, these qualifications will change. The available streams, usually referred to as programs, are:

Employers must post a job opening for at least 30 days in the government of Canada’s national Job Bank and in one other source that must be specialized and have a national audience before hiring a temporary foreign worker for a high-paying position.

Employers must also complete an LMIA application form for high-wage positions (EMP5626), pay the processing fees, provide documentation of their business’ legality, carry out transition plan activities or support the foreign worker(s)’ application for permanent residence, and provide evidence of recruitment.

Employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers for low-paying occupations must post the job opening for at least 30 days in the government of Canada’s national Job Bank and in two other places that must have a national audience and specifically target underrepresented populations.

Employers employing through the low-wage stream are subject to a 20% maximum limit on the number of temporary foreign employees they can hire as of April 30, 2022, and until further notice.

A 30% hiring limit applies to businesses in the following industries: construction, food manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, furniture and related product manufacturing, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, lodging, and food services.

In order to qualify, employers must fill out an LMIA application form for low-wage positions (EMP5627), pay the LMIA processing feeshow proof of business legitimacydemonstrate proof of recruitment efforts, provide an employment contract and demonstrate that they are under the CAP limit.

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program allows citizens of the following countries to enter Canada as temporary foreign workers: Mexico, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.

Employers participating in this stream must submit an LMIA application form (EMP5389), pay the processing fee, provide a housing inspection report, provide proof of business legitimacy, show proof of recruitment, and provide a copy of a signed off-site lease agreement, if applicable.

Employers who want to acquire a positive LMIA through this stream must meet certain requirements, such as:

Employers must cover the employee’s round-trip transportation costsprovide day-to-day transportation to and from the job site at no costprovide housing (on-farm or off-site); confirmation that the on-farm or off-site housing provided for the temporary foreign worker has been inspected and a favourable report has been provided to the employer by the appropriate authorities. 

In addition, employers must pay for the temporary foreign worker’s private health insurance until they are eligible to be covered by the Provincial Health Insuranceensure workplace safety and provide the appropriate training, protective equipment and supervision (if needed) in case of pesticides and chemical use; prepare and sign an employment contractshow proof of business legitimacy and submit an LMIA application form.


A worker is designated as being a low-wage or high-wage worker depending on the temporary foreign worker’s salary.

A wage offered at or above the hourly wages indicated on the table below is considered to be high-wage. Anything below is considered low-wage, and the amounts vary depending on the province or territory.

*All hourly rates are expressed in Canadian dollars.


The general requirements are the same for the majority of employers, even though LMIA requirements for Nepalese employers vary depending on the stream. Employers must: in order to submit an LMIA application:

  • Hold a reliable business
  • Publicly offer products or services
  • Being able to pay a foreign employee a wage
  • A position that is available and cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Payment of LMIA processing costs
  • Employees should have access to private healthcare until they qualify for provincial health insurance.
  • Pay for the employee’s round-trip transportation costs.
  • Organize a hiring drive for at least 30 days.


Since not all work licenses call for an LMIA, hiring a temporary foreign worker does not automatically entail filing for an LMIA.

There are numerous employment opportunities available in Canada for qualified candidates. As long as a legitimate work contract is in place, these schemes enable employees to bypass the LMIA requirement and find employment with a Canadian firm.

Exemptions from the LMIA and work permits may be granted for a number of reasons, including the worker’s nationality, their NOC (vocational occupational classification), and the employment program they are eligible for.

Due to Canadian interests and trade agreements, such as NAFTA, some nationalities are also exempt from an LMIA. This is the case with Mexican nationals.

Some of the LMIA-exempt streams include:

  • Canada-Chile FTA
  • Canada-Peru FTA
  • Canada-Colombia FTA
  • Canada-Korea FTA
  • Canada-European Union
  • Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (G+ATS)
  • International Mobility Program
  • Intra-Company Transferees
  • North American Free
  • Trade Agreement (NAFTA)


An LMIA procedure’s length is not always foreseeable. Considering the 30-day job advertisement time that is necessary before submitting an application, it may take anywhere from six weeks to several months.

The length of time it takes to process an LMIA application depends on its kind, according to Service Canada. For information on typical processing times in relation to different application types, check the table below.

Remember that while the table above shows average processing times, the time it takes to process your application will depend on the volume of LMIA applications Service Canada is handling at the time of your application, as well as other delays and how challenging each case is.


An LMIA processing fee of $1,000 CAD per worker is applied to each application. All fees must be covered by the employer, not the temporary foreign worker. 

An exception to the fee is made to applications filed strictly in support of permanent residency in the case of agricultural workers.


With most immigration processes, if an employer has met all requirements and has filed a complete LMIA form, the application should result in a positive outcome. However, the decision is at the discretion of Service Canada officers who will examine the application. 

For that reason, LMIAs could be refused solely due to a technicality.


As each type of LMIA application is different, you’ll need a different form for every process. 

Use the resources below to find the right LMIA form you’ll need to get your process started. 

  • High-Wage Workers LMIA form (EMP5626)
  • Low-Wage Workers LMIA form (EMP5627)
  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program LMIA form (EMP5389) 
  • Agricultural Stream LMIA form (EMP5519)


Most frequent questions and answers

Canadian employers who want to check if they must apply for an LMIA can review the LMIA exemption codes and work permit exemptions. Select the work permit code that seems to be the most relevant to each occupation.

If an exemption code applies to you, you do not need to apply for an LMIA. Be sure to include the exemption code on your offer of employment to your prospective employee.

You will need to file one LMIA form  by employer or in some cases one form for each employee you would like to hire.

The employer is responsible for paying any fees related to the LMIA process.

Yes. If an employer doesn’t meet the criteria established by Employment and Social Development Canada, an LMIA can be refused.

Unless your application has been revoked within the last two years due to providing false, misleading, or inaccurate information, you may reapply if your LMIA has been rejected.

Yes, an LMIA is required for foreign nationals that want to change their status in Canada or for workers that want to change employers. If the NOC code  is LMIA exempt, they don’t need an LMIA.

On April 4, 2022, Service Canada extended the validity of an LMIA to 18 months. The temporary foreign worker(s) must apply for their respective work permit within those 18 months.

No, an LMIA is a preliminary requirement for employers so that they can be allowed to hire temporary foreign workers. Without a positive LMIA, a work permit cannot be obtained by a foreign worker.

IELTS or other mandatory language requirements are not necessary to submit an LMIA, but it is still important for employers to consider candidates’ language skills during the hiring process if they are relevant to the job.
A Service Canada officer could reject a work permit if they believe there are reasonable grounds for the foreign national to not be able to perform their job effectively due to a language barrier, even though language abilities may not be relevant to the issuance of a positive LMIA.

Yes, a foreign worker is allowed to work in their country of residence while they wait for a final decision on their LMIA application. Also, a temporary foreign worker within Canada is only allowed to work while waiting for an LMIA if they applied for a new work permit before the expiration date of their last document because they fall under the maintained status. Visitors or any status other than worker are not entitled to a worker maintained status. It’s important to keep in mind that an LMIA is not a work permit nor does it provide implied status.

Depending on the process, LMIA approval times change. However, given that you must actively market a job opening for up to 30 days before you can submit an LMIA, you should plan for the full process to take at least six weeks.

Depending on the type of LMIA and Service Canada system delays, the procedure after filing an LMIA might take anywhere from 12 to 48 business days. Consult the section above on our LMIA Application Processing Time for more specific information. In Quebec, the wait time for applications may be longer.