CANADA: Processing Delays and New Wage Thresholds for Labour Market Impact Assessments

April 24, 2019

Application Processing Delays

Employment and Social Development Canada is warning that average processing times for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications have increased.

Applications for LMIAs under the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and those otherwise qualifying for expedited processing (highest paid positions, skilled trades, short duration positions and express entry applications), are still expected to be processed within ten business days.

However, Low-wage Stream LMIA applications are currently taking an average of 102 business days, while High-wage Stream LMIA applications average 106 business days.

Wage Thresholds

Effective 22 April 2019, Employment and Social Development Canada has published new provincial and territorial median hourly wages.

These median wages, established on a province-by-province basis, are used to determine if a position qualifies for the High-wage Stream or the Low-wage Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), each with their own requirements.

Employers must be sure to submit applications under the correct stream, depending on the wages paid to the applicant, to ensure that they are not rejected for not fulfilling the relevant requirements.

  • Temporary foreign workers being paid below the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage. Employers are subject to a cap on the proportion of these low-wage foreign workers they can hire.
  • Temporary foreign workers being paid at or above the provincial/territorial median wage are considered high-wage. Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers in high-wage occupations are required (with limited exceptions) to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application, to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected by the processing delays or the new wage thresholds for LMIAs are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on business immigration to Canada, please email us at [email protected].