Determine your eligibility – Hire foreign workers

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

Labour Market Impact Assessment

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 opinion provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada to the officer that enables the 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
  • pre-approval, which is approval in principle for a series of positions. This might be helpful if you need to recruit a larger number of people.

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

See Labour Market Impact Assessment basics to learn more about the LMIA and the role of Service Canada.

In cases where you believe an LMIA or work permit exemption may apply, you can request an assessment (“opinion request”) from a Temporary Foreign Worker Unit, provided the foreign worker is from a visa-exempt country and is currently outside Canada.

Temporary Foreign Worker Units

Temporary Foreign Worker Units assist employers by providing an opinion on whether foreign workers they want to hire are exempt from the LMIA process or exempt from needing a work permit. This opinion will be considered by officers at the port of entry, when the foreign national applies for their work permit.

You can reach temporary foreign worker units in:

  • Toronto (serving Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut)
  • Montreal (serving Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador)

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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