LMIA Process in Canada: Hire Foreign Workers

In Canada, employers are facing a skilled labour shortage and are increasingly turning to hiring foreign skilled workers as a solution. This passage outlines the essential steps employers need to follow when hiring foreign skilled workers. As a matter of fact, by understanding these steps, employers can effectively address the labour shortage and meet industry demands. To hire a foreign skilled worker, you need to follow the following steps:

The Key Steps of Hiring a Foreign Skilled Worker

1. Determine if an LMIA is required

The LMIA (labour market impact assessment) process in Canada evaluates the impact of hiring foreign workers. It determines if an employer can offer a job to a foreign national based on a positive, neutral, or negative assessment outcome. If needed, an LMIA application confirms job necessity and the unavailability of Canadian workers. Alternatively, an offer of employment can be submitted without an LMIA through the Employer Portal, along with required attestations, certifications, and fees. The worker will need the offer of employment number for their work permit application.

2. Decide on the appropriate LMIA stream based on occupation and wage rate

LMIA assessments have two main streams: High-Wage Positions and Low-Wage Positions. They include applications for permanent residency and have specific advertising and recruitment requirements. Specialized streams exist for categories like agricultural workers, caregivers, academics, and the Global Talent Stream. Employers compare wages offered to foreign workers with provincial/territorial median wages to determine the appropriate stream to follow.

3. Conduct the advertising and recruitment campaign

Careful preparation and adherence to LMIA instructions are essential for successful applications. Accurate ad content is crucial to avoid refusal. Employers should consider recruitment activities specific to their LMIA stream, including mandatory ads on jobbank.gc.ca and relevant methods to reach the target audience. Exceeding minimum requirements demonstrates genuine efforts to attract qualified Canadian candidates and improves the chances of a successful outcome.


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The LMIA process: hire foreign workers

4. Submit the LMIA application and pay the fees

To complete an LMIA application, all necessary documents and the fee payment form must be submitted. For each vacant position requiring a foreign worker, a processing fee of $1000 CAD is typically required unless exempted. It’s worth noting that certain positions in agriculture and in-home caregiving may be eligible for LMIA processing fee exemption.

5. Schedule final phone interview

The LMIA process concludes with a phone interview conducted by an ESDC LMIA officer. This interview aims to verify the information in the application, discuss any updates or changes, and review the recruitment campaign details. The ESDC officer may request an updated summary of recruitment data. The LMIA officer makes the final decision after the interview.

6. Receive the LMIA decision

Employers can expect to receive the final decision on their application within a few days after the phone interview. Furthermore, within a week or longer, a physical copy of the LMIA decision will be mailed to the employer’s designated business address. This ensures that employers have both electronic and hardcopy versions of the LMIA decision for their records and reference.


In addition, it is important to ensure the following:

You should not charge any recruitment fees to the foreign worker.
Individuals acting on your behalf should not charge recruitment fees to the foreign worker.
Provide the foreign worker with a signed copy of the employment agreement in their preferred official language (English or French). This agreement should include details about their occupation, wages, and working conditions, which you will also need to enter into the Employer Portal under “offer of employment.”
Provide the foreign worker with information about their rights as a worker in Canada.