LMIA Processing Times Reduced
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LMIA Processing Times Reduced In Some Categories, Up In Others

According to recent figures from Canada’s federal government, processing times for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) are down in some programs but up in others. In addition, the LMIA processing times are also reduced in some program categories while others show increasing times.

Three (3) out of seven (7) Temporary Foreign Worker Programs categories see a reduction in the average processing times in January 2020, compared to last year, June of 2019, according to statistics received from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Processing times are reduced for the Agricultural Streams, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the High-wage Streams.

Meanwhile, the four (4) categories to show increased processing times are the Permanent Residence Stream, the Global Talent Stream, In-home Caregivers, and the Low-wage Stream.

The Table below shows LMIA processing times were reduced in certain categories but increased in others.

Labour Market Impact Assessment Average Processing Times 2020

Application types LMIA Processing Time June 2019 (business days) LMIA Processing Time January 2020 (business days)

Global Talent Stream 10 12

Agricultural Stream 36 23

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program 20 10

Permanent Residence Stream 39 49

In-home Caregivers 20 25

High-wage Stream 95 80

Low-wage Stream 102 108

Source: Employment and Social Development Canada

The increased Global Talent Stream processing times will be a more significant concern for Ottawa, from Ten (10) to Twelve (12) business days.

The Global Talent Stream is the federal government’s flagship work permit program, providing an employer with the benefit of bringing in the best foreign-skilled workers in the highest demand occupations with Ten (10) business day processing.

Officials will want to see the average processing time increase by 12 (12) days.

ESDC blames the rise in processing times on the high number of applications submitted due to the demand for Canadian work permits through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Work permit holders have continued to be a healthy source of new permanent residents in Canada.

Between January and October 2019, 55,110 newcomers were admitted who previously held work permits through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. The exact figure for the whole of 2018 was 56,365.

How To Get Labour Market Impact Assessment In Canada

Before hiring a temporary foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada, a Labour Market Impact Assessment, LMIA, is essential and often required. If there is no Canadian citizen for the job, the TFWP permits employers to fill positions with foreign workers.

It is a labor market verification process where Employment and Social Development Canada, or simply (ESDC), assesses employment offers to ensure that employing a foreign worker will have no negative impact on the labor market in Canada.

For this reason, the employer will have to give a variety of information on the vacant position if they wish to hire a foreign worker. First, however, is information on the total number of Canadians who applied for the job and those interviewed as well as a detailed explanation of why no Canadian worker was considered for the position.

Once a Canadian employer files for the LMIA, they will expect a document of approval from Employment and Social Development Canada. This document is generally known as a positive LMIA (sometimes called a confirmation letter) confirming there is a need to employ a temporary foreign worker for the job in question and that there are no Canadian citizens to fill the position.

Once the Canadian employer receives the LMIA, the prospective employee can file for a work permit so long as they have an employment offer letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number.

For international applicants willing to immigrate to Canada for work, you may want to check the country-specific processing times for your country’s Labour Market Impact Assessments.


In conclusion, the news of reduced LMIA processing times in some categories and increased processing times in others is a mixed bag for the Canadian immigration landscape. Despite the discrepancy between certain application streams, progress is still being made in improving overall wait times. Ultimately, these changes are designed to make the application process smoother, fairer, and more efficient for all involved.

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