An increase in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications is resulting in LMIA processing delays, which are expected to last into the coming months.
Consequently, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the government department overseeing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), is urging Canadian employers to submit their LMIA applications as soon as possible to avoid any additional delays.
ESDC states that it is making all necessary efforts to minimize any impact on employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers.
LMIA applications are submitted by employers experiencing labour shortages in a specific employment position. The LMIA serves as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is ready, willing and able to fill a specific position, and so the employer is given the right to hire from abroad. In order to prove this, employers must advertise the position for at least four weeks and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Only then, and only if the business can prove that those interviewees did not fulfil the job description, may the business be given the green light to hire a foreign worker. The worker must apply for a Canadian work permit, supported by the LMIA, before beginning work in Canada.
LMIAs may also be issued outside the TFWP, specifically in situations where employers are seeking to hire a candidate from the Express Entry pool.
Express Entry is the main driver of economic immigration to Canada. Express Entry candidates who obtain a job offer supported by a LMIA receive 50 or 200 additional points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), placing them in a stronger position to be invited to apply for permanent residence.
LMIAs supporting permanent residence through Express Entry have no cost, and the processing service standard time is 10 business days. This is in contrast to LMIAs supporting the entry to Canada of temporary foreign workers, for which there is a $1,000 application fee and a processing period that can extend to many weeks, even months.
At this point, it appears that the LMIA processing delays affect LMIAs under the TFWP only, leaving Express Entry candidates and their potential employers in Canada largely unaffected.
This page will be updated with any further information on LMIA processing delays, as and when it becomes available.