LMIA based work permit
Canadian employers are required to obtain a document from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada stating that they can hire the temporary worker. This is known as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) gives an employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker. It shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
LMIA based work permit is a two-step application process. The first step is to apply for an LMIA to Service Canada. The purpose of the LMIA is to make sure that foreign workers are not being chosen over Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents those are qualified for the job. Positive LMIA determines that hiring foreign nationals in the specified occupation and at the specified work location is likely to have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market.
The second step is to apply for a work permit once an employer has obtained a positive LMIA from Service Canada. Work permit application is submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Work permits based on skill types
Skilled Work Permits
Skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A or B. Generally, for skilled work permits, applicant need to have 1-3 years of experience depending upon the occupation and in certain cases only relevant education can fulfill the job requirements. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.
Semi-Skilled work permits
Semi-Skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C & D. Semi-Skilled work permits require maximum of high school education or job specific training. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.
Semi-Skilled work permits under agriculture stream generally do not require any specific language skills, education, and experience. You still need to meet all general eligibility requirements for work permit.
Under low skilled work permits, generally employers pay return airfare, ensure that affordable and suitable accommodation is available, provide temporary medical insurance coverage, register workers with provincial workplace safety insurance plans, sign an employer-employee contract.
Work permits based on wage
Each Canadian province and territory have a median hourly wage as determined by Statistics Canada. High-wage workers are those earning at or above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in specified region. An employer who is offering a wage that is at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage should apply an LMIA application under high-wage stream. Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers must submit transition plans along with their LMIA application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. Transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the program. This entails that they are using the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labour needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available, ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.
Transition plan describes the activities an employer is agreeing to undertake to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents and to reduce reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. A Transition Plan, valid for the duration of the employment of the temporary foreign worker, is a mandatory requirement to hire temporary foreign workers in high-wage positions.
Provincial/Territorial median hourly wages
|Median Hourly Wages (CAD)
(as of May 11, 2020)
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
Employer is required to submit an LMIA application under low-wage occupation if the wages offered to foreign national is below than the provincial/territorial median hourly wage. The employers seeking to hire foreign workers on low-wage positions do not need to submit transition plans with their LMIA application. Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). They must, however, follow a different set of guidelines.
To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the Canadian Government has introduced a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Furthermore, certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. However, there are certain exceptions to the cap. The cap is not applicable if employer is hiring a temporary foreign worker for an on-farm agricultural position.