A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

Who should request the LMIA?

LMIA must be requested by the potential employer. Please keep in mind that LMIA is not a work permit, it is just a requisite to get a work permit.

How much does an LMIA cost?

The cost is 1000 Canadian dollars for each position requested. The payment is done by credit card. When the employer fills the application form, there is a section where to put credit card information.

The processing fee must be paid by the employer.

What to do to request an LMIA?

The Government of Canada website has an explanation, but it seems it is not very clear for everyone. We will put here what to do first:

  1. Find if you are an exemption first, please read all the exemptions as little details may get you out of the list
  2. The employer is not in the Ineligible employers' blacklist
  3. Determine your category, could be a caregiver (nanny, personal nurse and others), low-wage or high-wave. This is quite easy, you just need to compare your salary against a table. There are other categories such as academic, but we won't cover them here as they are not common as these three.
  4. Employment and Social Development Canada has some extra rules to refuse LMIA. Please read it carefully as if you fall in one of these situations your application will be refused right away. In short, some of the conditions are:
    • your job is in the sex industry
    • banned by the ECDC
    • some NOC or postal code combination
    • employee cap (the employer has too many foreign workers hired)

If you are okay with the last four points, then you can proceed to do the LMIA application. All the information is available in the Employment and Social Development Canada webpage, however, we are making here a summary to help you process the information. Please read the official links after reading this article.

The low-wage and high-wage LMIA applications have different requisites. Here it is a comparison table:

  Caregiver Low-wage High-wage
Processing fee 1000 CAD (check for exemptions) 1000 CAD 1000 CAD
Third-parties Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
Business Legitimacy N/A Required Required
Cap on proportion on low-wage positions N/A 10% (read for exemptions) N/A
Transition plan N/A N/A Plan for training and knowledge transfer to Canadians and Permanent Residents
Recruitment Applies rules of low-wage or high-wage depending on salary Ad on the Job Bank plus two additional ads targeting underrepresented groups Ad on the Job Bank plus two additional ads (one of them of national scope)
Wages  Must be similar to the current market Must be similar to the current market Must be similar to the current market
Job duties and working conditions Well defined  Well defined Wel defined
Transportation Round trip paid if low-wage Round trip paid N/A
Housing Could live in employers home without extra charge or help on the lease process if low-wage salary Help on the lease process with some restrictions N/A
Healthcare Private health insurance until caregiver gets provincial/territorial health insurance plan if low-wage salary. Must be covered by provincial/territorial or private plan N/A
Workplace safety Must satisfy the WSIP by law Must satisfy the WSIP by law Must satisfy the WSIP by law
Employment contract Must be signed Signed before arriving in Canada N/A
Language Restriction English or French, if another language is required a rationale must be provided  English or French, if another language is required a rationale must be provided English or French if another language is required a rationale must be provided
Unionized positions N/A Must satisfy union demands, offer same conditions to those under the collective agreement Must satisfy union demands, offer same conditions to those under the collective agreement

Processing Fee

For both cases, it is 1000 CAD. There is no an online portal or a phone line to do the payment; when the employer fills the form, there is a section where they authorize the charge through a credit or debit card.

Third Parties

The employer may be very busy to process the LMIA by himself/herself. It is not an easy process and it requires time and effort. The Government of Canada accepts third parties to help on this process:

  • Unpaid: a family member, friend, not-for-profit group, religious organization
  • Paid: a good standing law society member, a law student under supervision, Ontario's paralegal, a member of the ICCRC

Business Legitimacy

This is a very important part. The employer must show that the business is in good standing and it is not a set up for bringing a foreign worker in Canada.

Cap on Proportion of Low-wage Positions

The Government of Canada has imposed a cap to stop the foreign worker hiring without control. Generally speaking, it is up to 10% of the payroll members. However, there are exceptions that apply to some agricultural, caregiving positions, seasonal industries, number of employees and job mobility requirements.

Transition Plan

A transition plan describes the activities that the employer agrees to do in order to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents. As always, there are some positions that are exempted from this requirement, such as caregivers, seasonal occupations, unique skills.


The employer must show to the Government of Canada that he/she did his/her best effort finding a Canadian or a permanent resident. As a common requirement, an ad must be posted in the Job Bank. Additionally:

  • for low-wage positions, the other two ads must target underrepresented groups such as indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, newcomers and persons with disabilities. The website does not specify how you target those groups.
  • for high-wage positions, the other two ads must target people having a similar skillset (you need to post the ad where the similar audience looks for). One of these ads must be published with a national scope. As explained on the website, a national scope site is a website that allows all Canadian and permanent residents to look in a single site. If we follow this rule, websites like Craigslist and Kijiji will not qualify as they segment their website per city.

The ad must contain the company operating name, the address, title of the position, job duties, terms of employment (permanent, project, contract), language requirements, wage, any benefit, work location, contact information and skills required (including education and experience).

Save a clear copy of the ad where the publishing date is showed and the invoice of the publisher for that ad. Any other invoice or proof of recruitment can be added to backup employer's efforts.

Read the Employment and Social Development Canada website, as some provinces have some variations on this requirement.


As you guess, the Government of Canada uses its own information. By law, offered wages must be similar to the wages given to Canadians and permanent residents. An employer can not underpay an employee regardless the status.

To determine the wage rage, go to the Job Bank and look for similar jobs or similar NOC codes. If the local median wage is not available, look for the provincial/territorial and then for the national.

The wage does not include any kind of additional compensations such as tip, bonuses, overtime hours. It is just the hourly rate.

Job Duties and Working Conditions

The employer must define the job duties and the employee must do what it is listed. The employer must compensate for extra work, including overtime.

The requirements may change per province/territory; please look in the local Ministre of Labour.


Transportation from the foreign country to Canada and back to home (round trip) must be covered by the employer.


The employer will help the new worker finding a home but not paying the rent. The monthly rent must not be greater than the 30% of the worker's income before taxes.

Health Care

The employer must help the new worker to enroll in the provincial health care program. The employer must pay for the private plan.

Workplace Safety

The employer must be enrolled in the provincial/territorial WSIB or using a private insurance.

Employment Contact

An employment contract must be signed before the foreign worker arrives in Canada.

Language Restriction

Do not forget that English and French are the only languages as a requirement for an LMIA. If for another reason the job must have a third one, the employer must explain the rationale.

Unionized Positions

All unionized positions must be equal as for foreign workers, Canadians and permanent residents.

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