As of 2021, there have been slight changes in the LMIA process. Under the new LMIA framework, work positions are to be separated into only two classes: High-Wage and Low-Wage. Occupations are viewed as High Wage if the salary meets or surpasses the median wage rate in the territory where the work will be assigned, and low wage if the salary is underneath the median wage rate.
Recruiting High-Wage Employees
All Canadian employers who want to employ a temporary foreign worker(s) at a wage that is equal to or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage must have a transition plan.
The Transition Plan is required for LMIA application and addresses responsibilities that a business has consented to attempt explicitly to the occupation and work area for which they are looking for TFWs.
Recruiting Low-Wage Employees
For low-wage workers, there is no need for a transition plan when applying for an LMIA. Unlike high-wage workers, low-wage workers have a limit on the number of workers they can hire.
Employers with more than 10 workers will be restricted to hiring a maximum of 10% of low-wage temporary foreign workers so that they have time to transition to hiring Canadians.
The Government of Canada believes that foreign workers can help employers meet their labour needs when Canadians and permanent residents are not available. As part of this process, the government supports higher-skilled foreign workers based on their potential to become economically established in Canada and to assist employers to meet their skilled labour shortages.
Employers who wish to hire skilled foreign workers and support their permanent resident visa application can make a job offer under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Express Entry system. The job offer must meet the criteria of 1 of the listed economic immigration programs (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trade Program, or Canadian Experience Class).
Employers without an LMIA can hire temporary foreign workers through the International Mobility Program (IMP). Once you hire an employee through IMP, you must pay an employer compliance fee, submit a job offer letter and obtain an employment offer number.
After an LMIA application has been processed, employers will be issued a decision.
If the employer is issued a positive LMIA, they can proceed with hiring a foreign national.
If a negative LMIA is issued, then unfortunately the employer is not approved to hire a foreign national.
The processing times for work permit applications vary based on where the application was submitted or where the applicant resides in.