Hire a temporary foreign worker in a low-wage position

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Transitioning to online applications

As of April 2023, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is moving to online LMIA applications. Consult the LMIA Online Portal Resources page frequently for details and updates.

Get a head start and use the LMIA Online Portal today!

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 (as part of a pilot initiated March 2020) 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:

    • determine if you want to use a third-party representative
    • determine if your LMIA application is subject to processing fees
    • your most recent business license
    • your most recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax documents
    • your recruitment and advertisement documents

Don't forget

Review the checklist before starting your application.

Hiring TFWs in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan

If you're hiring TFWs in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan, 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 applications.

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:

  • LMIA applications must be submitted at the same time to Service Canada and Quebec's Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) (in French only)
    • failure to do so will prevent your application from being processed and will result in its closure. No refund of the processing fee will be made
  • all applications must be submitted to MIFI in paper format
  • the names of the TFWs must be included in the application

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

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

There are 2 ways you can apply:

  1. online through the LMIA Online Portal, or
  2. by emailing a PDF application form

Apply online

The fastest way to apply is online through the LMIA Online Portal. It's a reliable and secure platform allowing you to complete and submit an online application to Service Canada.

To access the LMIA Online Portal, you need to have a Job Bank account.

1) Create a Job Bank for employers account if you don't already have one

It takes approximately 10 minutes to register, and up to 5 business days for Job Bank to process a new employer's file.

2) Access the LMIA Online Portal using your Job Bank for employers' credentials

Your account details will be required for authentication purposes.

3) Submit your application


Send a PDF application form by email

If you're unable to apply through the LMIA Online Portal, visit the LMIA Online Portal resources webpage for information on how to request an exemption and a PDF LMIA application form.

If you're applying under the 2-year duration pilot for meat processors

Make sure to:

For applications where the work location is in Canada, but not Quebec

Submit your application to the Service Canada processing centre responsible for this specific program or for processing the LMIA applications in the region where the TFW will be employed.

For positions in Quebec

Submit your application by email to EDSC.QC.PTET.INFO-INFO.TFWP.QC.ESDC@servicecanada.gc.ca.

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 the application and avoid processing delays.

If you need to change the stream you had originally selected, withdraw your original 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.

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