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Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada will assess the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application submitted by the employer to determine what impact hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) would have on Canada's job market. Based on the application and the documents received, the Department will issue a positive or negative LMIA.


Labour Market Impact Assessment – Process


All LMIA applications go through a systematic assessment process to:


  • Verify if the employer is:

eligible to participate in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The list of ineligible employers appears onCitizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) website; and

  • using an authorized third-party representative, if applicable.

  • Verify the consistency of the job offer with federal/provincial/territorial agreements.

  • Assess the genuineness of the job offer. The assessment is based on whether the:


  • employer is actively engaged in the business related to the job offer;

  • job offered to the TFW is consistent with the employment needs of the employer;

  • employer can fulfil the terms and conditions of the job offer;

  • employer and the third-party representative, if applicable, are compliant with the relevant federal-provincial-territorial employment and recruitment legislation;



  • Assess the language requirement of the job offer, to ensure that English and French are the only languages identified as a job requirement, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is a bona fide requirement for the job.

  • Assess:


  • the impact of hiring a TFW on the labour market including:

wages and working conditions offered;

occupation in which the TFW will be employed;

employer's recruitment and advertisement efforts;

benefits to the labour market;


  • Assess previous job offers that an employer has made to a TFW



  • Did the employer employ a TFW in the last 2 years, prior to December 31, 2013?


  • This is to determine whether the employer provided all TFWs employed by the company with wages, working conditions and employment in an occupation that was substantially the same as those that were described in the previous offer of employment (and confirmed in the LMIA letter and annexes)?


  • Did the employer apply for and receive a positive LMIA on or after December 31, 2013 and employ a TFW in that position?


  • This is to determine whether the employer provided all TFWs employed on LMIAs received on or after December 31, 2013, with employment in the same occupation as described in the previous offer of employment (and confirmed in the LMIA letter and annexes) and with substantially the same wages and working conditions - but not less favourable than - those set out in that offer of employment (and confirmed in the LMIA letter and annexes)?


ESDC/Service Canada will ensure that the employer has met all the Program Requirements. Once the assessment is complete, the employer will be notified in writing of the final decision.


Positive LMIA


The employer will receive a letter confirming the approval of the LMIA application. This positive LMIA is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. For privacy reasons, the letter will not include the names of the TFWs. However, it provides specific details about the job offer, such as the wages, working conditions and occupations as well as a system file number. The names of the workers will appear in Annex B which is intended for the employer's records only, and is NOT to be shared with the TFW as it is not required for the purposes of applying for a work permit.


Once the positive LMIA letter is received, it is the employer's responsibility to:


  • send a copy of this letter to the TFW;

  • ask the TFW to apply to CIC for a work permit. The TFW must include with the work permit application a copy of the positiveLMIA letter signed by both the employer and the worker.



Provincial/territorial Variations


If the job is located in the province of:


Quebec - Employers must:

  • send to the TFW a copy of the:


  • positive LMIA letter issued jointly by ESDC/Service Canada and the MIDI;

  • Quebec CAQ issued by MIDI; and

  • employment contract signed by the employer.


ask the TFW to submit this documentation along with the work permit application to CIC. Visit CIC's Web site to find aCanadian Visa Office.


British Columbia - If the employers have not submitted part 2 of the registration form, they must do so within 30 days from the date of hiring the live-in caregiver (applicable only if the caregiver is living in the employers' home).

Work Permit

CIC will then assess the TFW's work permit application. If the assessment is positive, the TFW will receive a work permit to be able to work for a specific employer, under established working conditions, and for a particular duration in Canada.

Some countries may require that their citizens meet certain conditions if they want to work in Canada. Employers should:


  • ask the TFW to verify if additional conditions apply,

  • contact the consulate of the foreign worker's country in Canada; or

  • visit the consulate's Web site.


Once the TFW arrives in Canada, the employer must:


  • ensure that the worker is authorized to work and check the duration of the work permit;

  • verify that the TFW's work permit issued by CIC indicates the name of the individual hiring the worker as the authorized employer; and

  • keep records of the number of regular and overtime hours the TFW has worked on a weekly/monthly basis.


Note: Employers are not allowed to take away the TFW's identification documents such as passport, work permit or other identification.


Employers must apply for a new LMIA when they anticipate that their need for TFWs will continue beyond the period covered by the work permit. The new LMIA application should be sent at least 4 months prior to the expiry of the work permit, to ensure ESDC/Service Canada has sufficient time to process the application and for CIC to process the work permit extension. However, applications received more than 6 months in advance of the job start date will not be accepted.


Maximum Cumulative Duration of Work in Canada


On April 1, 2011, CIC introduced a regulatory amendment that establishes a 4-year cumulative duration limit a TFW can work in Canada. As a result, employers wishing to make a job offer to a TFW who has previously worked in Canada should be aware that TFWs reaching or close to reaching the 4-year limit may not be granted a new work permit, or an extension to their current work permit or they may have its duration limited. In addition, once the 4-year limit has been reached, the TFW will have to wait 4 years before being eligible to work in Canada again. The 4-year cumulative duration limit will only be counted starting from April 1, 2011 which means that as a result of this regulation, refusals of work permits will potentially begin April 1st, 2015.


Note: TFWs being hired under this stream for occupations, where the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code skill level is A, meaning the position requires a university degree (bachelor’s, masters or doctorate), such as a nurse, are exempt from the maximum cumulative duration.

Revocation of an LMIA


The revocation of an LMIA means overturning the decision based on new information, which changes the opinion from positive to negative.


An LMIA may be revoked if it has not yet expired, work permits or permanent residence visas have not been issued by CIC, and if one or more of the following circumstances apply:


  • The employer has provided materially false or misleading information.

  • New facts or information are brought forward after a positive LMIA has been issued, that would have changed the assessment of the application, resulting in a negative LMIA.

  • The opinion was based on an unintentional error as to some material fact.


The revocation of an LMIA is based on reliable and documented evidence that confirms that the new information or altered circumstances would have had an impact on the assessment of the factors listed under section 203 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).


Negative LMIA


ESDC/Service Canada issues a negative LMIA letter if the employer does not meet all the Program Requirements.


Employer Compliance


ESDC/Service Canada takes the integrity of the TFWP very seriously. Employers hiring TFWs are expected to be compliant with theTFWP, by upholding the terms and conditions of employment as stated in the original job offer and set out in the positive LMIAletter and annexes.


Employers must also follow all federal/provincial/territorial employment regulations and laws, as all workers in Canada, have the same labour and human rights and social protections.


In accordance with the IRPR (Section 203(1)(e)), employers who have hired a TFW within the past 2 years, prior to December 31, 2013, may be subject to an employer compliance review after submitting a new LMIA application.

This review, often known as an STS (substantially the same) assessment, requires employers to demonstrate that the TFWs were provided with substantially the same:


  • wages;

  • working conditions; and

  • occupation, as set out in the positive LMIA letter and annexes.


Employers who applied for and have received a positive LMIA, on or after December 31, 2013, and employed a TFW in that position, must demonstrate they provided the TFW with:


  • employment in the same occupation as described in the previous offer of employment (and confirmed in the LMIA letter and annexes); and

  • substantially the same wages and working conditions - but not less favourable than - those set out in that offer of employment (and confirmed in the LMIA letter and annexes).


More information is available in the Employer Compliance section.


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