What Are the LMIA Application Fees and Wait Times?

By Michael Niren February 20, 2020 4 min. read

If you’re planning on hiring foreign workers under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), you most likely need a labour market impact assessment (LMIA). And if you’ve never applied for one before, you most likely have a number of questions about the LMIA requirements as well as the process. How much does it cost? How long will an LMIA take? Read on to learn more about processing your LMIA request.

What Does an LMIA Cost to Process?

You will have to pay $1,000 to the Canadian government per LMIA application. Let’s say you need to hire three foreign workers. You’ll need to pay Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) $3,000.

The processing fee is in Canadian dollars. You can pay by certified cheque, money order, Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

What happens if your LMIA is denied (that is to say, there are Canadian citizens or permanent residents able, ready and willing to work in the position you’re trying to fill)? You won’t get your money back. If you want to appeal the ESDC’s decision, you’ll have to submit a new LMIA… and pay another $1,000 per position. The only way you’ll get refunded is if the ESDC didn’t process the correct amount.

Let’s say the LMIA said that there aren’t Canadians that can fill this position. You’ve gotten the go-ahead to hire foreign workers. However, you’ve still paid quite a bit of money to go through this process, and you believe you should be compensated for it. Don’t plan on trying to recover the fee from the foreign workers. ESDC has a policy prohibiting employers from doing so.

How Long Will It Take to Process an LMIA?

LMIA requirements stipulate that you must submit your LMIA application six months in advance of the job’s anticipated start date. This leaves ample time for the application to be processed as application processing times vary from case to case.

There are exceptions to this rule. If a position is in an industry with incredibly high demand, or the position is very high-paying, the waiting period is a mere ten days. Applicants to jobs with very short durations can also be fast-tracked.

You’re probably reading that and thinking, “Six months is a long time if my employee doesn’t fall into the categories, which can be fast-tracked. I need to fill these positions right now.” And after reading about the cost, you may also begin to sour on the idea of bringing a foreign worker to Canada. The situation wasn’t always this way, though.

How the Government Changed the TFWP

Sometimes, change is good. It makes things better. In the case of the TFWP, many would argue that the changes the government made to the program had the opposite effect.

At the end of 2014, the Harper government made changes to the TFWP. The application fee rose from $275 to $1,000. In addition, the number of applications accepted dropped dramatically.

Many temporary foreign workers and advocacy groups were upset about these changes. In addition, many employers who rely on foreign workers made their displeasure known to the government. Justin Trudeau’s government has stated it will review the program and make changes to it, though as of October 2016, a year after the Liberal party’s rise to power, nothing has happened. One of the Liberal party’s policies is to change the $1,000 LMIA fee for live-in caregiver positions. Immigration minister John McCallum has gone on the record as saying he’d like to do away with LMIAs entirely.

The government made it more difficult to bring foreign workers into Canada because of criticism that these workers were taking jobs away from Canadians. Foreign workers and their advocates don’t buy into that argument, though. They believe the government simply doesn’t want more foreign workers in the country, regardless of how many jobs they take that Canadians genuinely don’t want. To wit, the federal government exempted provinces in Atlantic Canada from some of the TFWP’s rules so that seafood processing companies could bring in an unlimited number of foreign workers to meet constant labour shortages in that industry.

As long as Canadian citizens and permanent residents refuse to fill certain jobs, the need for foreign workers will remain. At the same time, there will always be Canadians (be they politicians, labour union members, or average Joes) who will argue vociferously that these people are taking jobs away from Canadians. Any decisions the government makes will have to appease both of these groups, which is, of course, an impossibility.

Turn to a Trusted Immigration Law Professional to Bring Foreign Workers to Canada

If you’re looking to bring foreign workers to Canada, you need an experienced immigration lawyer to help you navigate the complex set of laws and regulations governing this type of employment. One mistake on your part could destroy your chances of successfully filling an urgent position with a foreign worker.

Are you interested in immigrating to the U.S. or moving to Canada? Contact VisaPlace today.

All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.