Hire a temporary foreign worker in a low-wage position

On this page

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is intended to be used when you're facing short-term skills and labour shortages, and allows you to hire TFWs for a maximum period of 2 years when no Canadians and permanent residents are available. The employment duration must align with the employer's reasonable employment needs.

To hire a TFW, you may require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to determine if hiring a TFW will have a positive or negative impact on the Canadian labour market.

As an employer, you must comply with the program requirements. These requirements may vary depending on the position you're requesting. We take program integrity very seriously and we have mechanisms in place to verify employer compliance. Employers who fail to comply with these requirements will be subject to consequences.

To get an LMIA, you must submit an application form and all the necessary supporting documents. Your application will be assessed to validate the legitimacy of the business, the job offer and the impact hiring a TFW would have on the Canadian labour market.

Before you apply

Review this checklist:

Don't forget

Review the checklist before starting your application.

Hiring TFWs in British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Nova Scotia

If you're hiring TFWs in British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Nova Scotia, you must apply for the employer registration certificate with the province first and include a copy of the certificate or proof of exemption with your LMIA application. Your application will be considered incomplete if submitted without the required documentation. Be sure to consider provincial processing times before you submit your LMIA application.

For more information on provincial laws on the employer registration requirement and possible exemptions in the province, visit the following websites:

Hiring TFWs in Quebec

For positions in Quebec for an employment period of more than 30 consecutive days:

For more information, consult Hiring in the province of Quebec.


On May 12, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a temporary public policy. The new policy allows some TFWs who are already in Canada to change jobs before a final decision is made on their work permit application.

Employers hiring these TFWs may receive priority processing of the LMIA applications. To do so, employers must notify Service Canada in writing that the TFW:

  • is in Canada, and
  • wishes to benefit from IRCC's COVID-19 temporary public policy

How to apply

Apply using LMIA Online. It’s a reliable and secure portal where you can complete and submit online LMIA applications to Service Canada.

Your LMIA application can be submitted up to 6 months before the expected job start date.

Before signing into LMIA Online

You need a Job Bank for employers account to use LMIA Online. For instructions, consult Before you get started.

Submitting your application using LMIA Online

If you don’t have access to LMIA Online, head to LMIA Online resources for troubleshooting steps.

Apply now

Make changes to your pending application

If you need to make changes to your application once submitted, and before the LMIA decision is made, contact the appropriate Service Canada processing centre or the Employer Contact Centre to modify your application and avoid processing delays.

If you need to change the stream you had originally selected, withdraw your application and reapply under the new stream. Processing fees aren't refunded and cannot be transferred to your new application.

After you apply

Additional information is available to find out what happens after you apply for a LMIA for a low-wage or high-wage position.

Related links

Contact us

Page details

Date modified: