NEWS: Labor market opinion (LMO)
WORK PERMIT FOR CANADA: WHAT IS A LABOUR MARKET OPINION (LMO)?
The LMO is a document issued by the Canadian government to your employer. It will allow you, a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW), to obtain a sponsored work permit for Canada. It is a fast, cheap process that was created to allow Canadian employers to fill positions in their companies with foreign workers if they are unable to find a Canadian to do the job. The government issues a positive or negative Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to your employer approximately 12 weeks after application. You, the potential employee, then use this LMO to obtain your new visa either at the nearest border, or by post. Visa fees are usually about $150. The LMO will state the conditions for work in Canada, including wages, hours and the duration of the LMO permit.
HRSDC/Service Canada ensures that job opportunities are protected for Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents. Canadian employers can hire foreign workers when it will not negatively affect employment of Canadians and Permanent Residents, or when there are significant benefits to the recruitment of a foreign worker.
There are certain guidelines that HRSDC follow in the process of approving Canadian employer to hire a foreign worker. The employer must demonstrate that:
- A job offer itself is bonafide and not designed to be inaccessible to Canadians/permanent residents
- Wages and a working condition offered are sufficient to attract and retain Canadians or permanent residents in employment
- An employer has made reasonable efforts to hire or train Canadians or permanent residents for an employment in request. Usually an employer can extend a job offer to a foreign worker after establishing that Canadians and permanent residents are not readily available. An employer can provide evidence to support either one of the two following conditions:
- Reasonable efforts were made to recruit and train qualified Canadians or permanent residents for employment
- Foreign worker possesses a combination of skills and experience not readily available in Canada.
- The employment of the foreign worker is critical for the company to maximize its human resources in creating or maintaining jobs and/or transferring specialized knowledge and skills to the company’s labor force.
WORK IN CANADA THROUGH LMO
Once you have a positive LMO from HRDSC, you are then entitled to apply for a work permit to work in Canada. You can do this in two different ways:
1. Apply to the Canadian Consulate in your country before coming to Canada. You will receive a confirmation letter which you provide to Citizenship & Immigration Canada on arrival. The cost is $150 per work permit and $125 per study permit (needed for all children of school age).
2. Apply at Point of Entry (POE). Go to Immigration Canada on arrival in Canada. Provide your documents and they will issue you with a work permit and study permit, if required.
3. If you are already in Canada you can also go to the border and flagpole, which involves going to the US border. When coming back, you proceed to Immigration Canada as a landed immigrant. You can read here some of the statics on LMO
ADVANTAGES OF LABOUR MARKET OPINION
It is relatively fast, cheap and appealing to employers. Other routes that allow you to work in Canada require more time and money.
You can get a work permit for Canada for up to three years.
DISADVANTAGES OF LABOUR MARKET OPINION
It can be tricky to meet all requirements and convincing the government that there is no Canadian to do the job.
LMOs are issued based on the current labour market needs, so if you happen to be in a profession that is currently experiencing high rates of unemployment it can be tough to get an Labour Market Opinion.
Your employer is the person applying for the LMO so you cannot get any information on your application or deal with the Labour Market Opinion folks throughout the process.
Your employer is going to have to advertise your position even though you are most likely already working there. The HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Dept.) needs proper proof that attempts were made to find a Canadian employee. JobsBank and Indeed.com are two common websites to meet this objective.
Important new updates from HRDSC on LMO process as of July 2013
These changes have dramatically reduced the number of LMO applications as the process is now slower and more complex. It is expected that these reforms will softened as employers struggle to cope with the new process.
Starting from April 25, 2012, and as of july 2013 the HRSDC allows employers and their third-party representatives to make applications and submit materials for a LMO online. Although employers and representatives may encounter some technical challenges in the registration process, a web-based application will eventually help fasten the process. A web application may save the data entry time required by HRSDC to input the information on a paper application to their computer system, which may take one week or more. Also, when a decision is made, the employer may obtain a copy of the approved opinion instantly, rather than days later with the arrival of the mail. Note HRSDC officers no longer fax out opinion letters, although some will still do at the request of the employer.
A positive LMO will not be issued if the officer reviewing the file believes that the hiring of a foreign worker will take a job away from qualified Canadians. This may happen if the requirements for the specified job are too broad, or the skills needed to perform job tasks are not particularly specialized, and therefore easy to fill.
When conducting recruitment in Canada, employers should be sure to carefully construct their advertisements to reflect the specific skills needed for the position. They should be aware that requiring competency in a language other than English or French is only allowed if the employer can demonstrate that knowledge of the language is essential. Providing a report of recruitment efforts and responses from interested candidates will strengthen one’s argument.
Canada is a very wealthy and generous country so employment opportunities will always come. Don’t lose hopes. There are millions of Foreign nationals working and living in Canada now. We love Canada as much as they love us.