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Are you eligible to work in Canada? LMIA FAQs by Neera Agnihotri

Canada is one of the most sought-after countries for foreigners to find employment. But there are several legal procedures one has to go through before finding a job in Canada. The most prominent ones are LMIA and work permits. If you want to find work in Canada, this article will answer some of your questions about LMIA and help determine if you are eligible to work in Canada.

What is LMIA?

LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment) is a legal document issued by the ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) an employer might need before hiring a temporary foreign worker. It encompasses the ESDC’s decision if an employer should be allowed to hire a temporary foreign worker, which can be positive, neutral, or negative.It is issued after Service Canada evaluates the effect the employer’s hire of a foreign worker may have on the labor market.

When can an employer apply for a LMIA?

The Canadian government urges employers to use LMIAs only as a last resort. Employers may only apply for LMIA if they have attempted to fill the position with a Canadian or permanent resident but have been unsuccessful. For that, an employer has to advertise the position for a month. If they can not find a local employee then they can begin recruiting for TFW (temporary foreign worker) either already in Canada or living elsewhere but meets the qualifications.

Does a LMIA allow a foreigner to work in Canada?

No. A positive or neutral LMIA only allows an employer to hire a temporary foreign worker in Canada. For a foreign national to work in Canada, they need a work permit issued by IRCC. To be eligible for the work permit, and you have to meet specific criteria depending on:

  • the offered position
  • your education
  • your work experience

Even if you meet all the requirements for the work permit, it does not ensure you will get one. The officers can still reject your application on the grounds of your

  • intention to return to your home country
  • family ties
  • financial ties
  • property ties
  • bounds to your home country
  • experience being irrelevant to the offered position
  • education being insufficient for the offered position
What happens when an employer gets a LMIA?

In all, for an employer to hire a foreign worker and for a foreign national to work in Canada, they must satisfy two bodies – ESDC and IRCC.Once the employer gets a LMIA, they provide its copy to the foreign national they intend to hire. The foreign national then includes the LMIA in their work permit application.


Once the work permit application process is complete, the IRCC or CBSA issues a work permit and VISA depending on the foreign national’s country of origin. In case when the applicant already resides in Canada, they will have to go through the in-Canada application process.Once the applicant gets the work permit, the employer has to abide by the conditions set out in the LMIA, like wages, working conditions, overtime conditions, location of work, etc.

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