Do you have a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) application processing? Are you wondering why it is taking so long? Maybe you are thinking about submitting an application and want to avoid any possible delays.
Owning a business or acting as a Staffing/HR manager for a company you may know how important foreigner workers are for your business. Some industries in Canada heavily rely on newcomers to fill a variety of vacant positions throughout Canada. To access a much greater pool of applicants you will need to apply for an LMIA.
Everyone needs to know how long it will take to get an approval. This is especially true if your employees must be ready to work at the beginning of your peak/operational season. Read on to learn what causes an application to exceed the typical Service Canada processing times.
1. The Job Description:
This might seem rather obvious but you need to have a clear job description.
The job vacancy you are advertising must accurately reflect the duties any potential employee will perform.
Are you advertising for a low level general labourer when what you actually need is someone who has experience in agriculture, can operate heavy machinery, and is willing to live in a remote location? What may seem straightforward to you may not be to the officer processing your application.
It is important to take the time and really determine the skills that are required and consider who your ideal candidate is. A poor job description causes delays because your processing officer won’t understand why you can’t find any local workers. This could also result in refusal because maybe the reason you can’t find local workers is because you have not accurately described the position your company needs to fill.
2. The Advertising:
In order to hire a foreign worker, Service Canada wants to know that you searched for hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents first. This is one of the most important factors in getting an approval.
You need to make sure you are advertising your job vacancies in a wide variety of places. Posting your job on one or two websites is not enough because you need to be able to reach a variety of people.
You also need to consider how long you have been advertising the vacancy. For example, if you have had a vacancy for 8 months, but have only been advertising for 3 months, how can you prove to Service Canada that you can’t find any local workers? This will delay a decision as your processing officer may ask you to advertise in more places and for a longer period of time, or they may simply refuse your application.
3. The Supporting Documents:
There are 7 different types of LMIA applications, and each one has its own unique requirements. All labour market impact assessments require proof of your business legitimacy, and proof that you have tried to recruit Canadians, but that is where the similarities end.
A Service Canada processing officer will not provide you with an approval to hire any foreign workers without all of the documents required. You must submit all the documents required at the same time as your application to avoid delays and possible refusals. Missing documents can cause your application to be considered incomplete.
Missing documents will definitely cause delays, especially if you are missing proof of recruitment. Each time you are sent a request for additional information it will add to your overall processing times. If Service Canada deems your application incomplete, it may be returned to you or refused.
So make sure you are familiar with the application requirements before you send in your LMIA application. If you are not sure if you require an LMIA you can always go to the Government of Canada website to find out.
4. The Processing Centre:
Service Canada has many different processing centres throughout Canada.
You must make sure that you send your application to the correct centre. The centre you need to send your labour market impact assessment to will depend on the region where the temporary foreign worker will be employed and the LMIA stream.
If you do not send your application to the correct location this can also cause a significant delay as it will have to be transferred to the correct office before it can be assessed.
Each application is assigned to only one processing officer and the decision to approve or refuse the LMIA application is up to their discretion. This means that there are no hard and fast rules for approval. The Service Canada processing officer has a set of guidelines to follow to ensure that you as an employer meet all the requirements to hire foreigner workers.
It is up to the Service Canada worker to decide if you have put forth sufficient effort to attract local workers/Canadians. They also need to make sure you are offering appropriate wages and benefits, make sure your workplace meets the proper standards, and make sure employing a foreign national will be beneficial for the local economy.
These are not simple yes or no questions so the officer is left to decide. This may cause delays as each time the officer needs more information it will take longer. Also, if there is too much missing information you may also get a refusal, and may lose any fees that you have paid.
It is also important to note that the decision for approval or refusal is ultimately up to the Service Canada processing officer.
Important Things to Remember About LMIAs
Getting approval from Service Canada to hire foreign workers can be a little bit tricky. It is also very important to know that only Canadian employers can apply for one.
So, if you are a foreign worker and have been told that you need an LMIA to work in Canada please note that you can’t apply for this on your own. You must find a Canadian company willing to do this for you.
So all in all remember you need to have a clear and complete job description, sufficiently advertised for local workers, all the supporting documents, and submit your LMIA to the correct processing centre. Once you have done all of this you will have a much better chance of avoiding delays.
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