Determine your eligibility – Hire foreign workers

You must meet certain requirements before you can hire a foreign worker.

To hire a foreign worker, in most cases, an employer must get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to support the work permit application. An LMIA is the assessment provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada that enables the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or Canada Border Services (CBSA)  officer to determine whether the employment of the foreign worker is likely to have a positive or negative impact on the labour market in Canada.

You can get an LMIA for:

  • a specific worker or position, or
  • several workers in the same occupation.

See Labour Market Impact Assessment basics to learn more about the LMIA and how to apply for one.

Some work categories are exempt from the LMIA requirement as part of the International Mobility Program. See Jobs that are LMIA-exempt.

How to get an exemption opinion from an International Mobility Worker Unit

International Mobility Worker Units (IMWU) help employers determine if the foreign worker they want to hire is exempt from the LMIA process or from requiring a work permit.

In cases where an employer believes a LMIA or work permit exemption may apply, they can request an opinion from an IMWU if the foreign worker is from a visa-exempt country and is currently outside Canada.

If the foreign worker you want to hire is not from a visa-exempt country or is already in Canada, the processing officer reviewing their work permit application will determine if an LMIA exemption applies to their situation.

The opinion given by the Unit is considered by the border services officer at the port of entry.

You can reach International Mobility Worker Units in:

  • Toronto (serving Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut)

    Toronto International Mobility Worker Unit

  • Montreal (serving Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador)

    Montreal International Mobility Worker Unit

Requests and supporting documentation must be submitted at least 30 days before the date of the worker plans to enter Canada and can be e-mailed. The Units will respond to LMIA and/or work permit exemption enquiries only.

Learn about:

Employers' Roadmap

This roadmap is a guide for employers in small to medium-sized enterprises interested in hiring foreign workers.
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