Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Limited Validity Period for Labour Market Impact Assessments
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Note: As of May 19, 2009, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) established a maximum six-month Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) validity period during which an LMIA may be used to apply for a work permit. ESDC will also no longer be granting LMIA extensions; instead, a new LMIA application will be required in every case.
LMIA validity period
The LMIA validity, or expiry date, is indicated on the LMIA under Opinion Expiry Date.
On the Employment Validation screen, the field Offer Valid To date is also known as the LMIA expiry date. This is the date by which a work permit application must be received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Border services officers (BSOs) will finalize applications that have already been initiated overseas even if the LMIA expiry date has passed. The missions will have ensured that the LMIA expiry date was still valid at the time of the initial application receipt.
Since officers must verify the expiry date of the LMIA before accepting a work permit application for processing, concurrent processing—the processing of a work permit application that is pending receipt of a valid LMIA—in most circumstances cannot be permitted.
Exception: For inland processing, the concurrent processing option will only be allowed for foreign nationals whose work permits will be expiring within two weeks. The foreign national must provide the case processing centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) proof of a valid job offer, as well as proof that the employer has submitted a request to Service Canada (SC) for a new LMIA. The application will be initialized and the processing fee will be applied. Applications will be held by CPC-V for two months after which a determination regarding the work permit will be made.
Applications received past the LMIA expiry date
Work permit (WP) applications received with an expired LMIA will be refused as per Section R203.
Applicants initiating a WP application at a port of entry (POE) are required to have a valid LMIA expiry date. If the LMIA expiry date has passed, the LMIA can no longer be used to support the work permit application.
In certain cases where an employer has specific time lines for a short employment opportunity, ESDC/SC may issue an LMIA that expires in less than six months.
The Labour Market Impact Assessment expiry date does not affect the processing time needed by CIC after the LMIA is submitted with a WP application.
Exception (Live-in Caregiver Program only)
The LMIA expiry date of six months does not apply to the processing of live-in caregivers applications in Quebec.
In Quebec, applicants first apply for an LMIA and then, upon receipt of the LMIA and before applying for a WP, must apply for the Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). Due to the time lines associated with the CAQ, these LMIAs will always be valid for three months following the issuance of the CAQ, regardless of the LMIA expiry date. Service Canada will indicate in Canada Immigration Centre notes (FOSS and GCMS), that “the LMIA is valid for three months after the CAQ is issued”. Officers can refer to the date the CAQ was issued to determine if the request for a work permit was made within three months of that date.
Duration of employment as per the LMIA
The LMIA expiry date should not be confused with the LMIA duration of employment or the work permit expiry period (which may be longer in duration depending on the employment situation). The work duration in the LMIA is the time frame of work that the employer has requested and to which the ESDC has agreed.
The expectation is that CBSA and CIC officers will issue a work permit for the duration of work indicated in the LMIA. However, in the case of passport expiry, a work permit may be issued for a shorter duration than identified in the LMIA. For example, if the LMIA work duration is for two years, but the temporary foreign worker’s passport will expire in one year, then the officer will issue a work permit for one year. In cases of passport expiry only, provided the initial LMIA and WP application were received before the LMIA expiry date, temporary foreign workers will be able to renew their existing WP at CPC-V , without seeking a new LMIA. That is, while the expiry date of the LMIA will have passed, the temporary foreign worker met the initial time frame for the application and can therefore be extended up until the end of the duration time outlined in the initial LMIA, provided the passport has been renewed accordingly. To assist officers working at CPC-V, CIC and CBSA officers are asked to record sufficient details in FOSS/GCMS “remarks/notes” where a WP is issued for a shorter duration than is indicated in the LMIA.
When authorizing the WP abroad, the visa officer calculates the Work Permit Valid Until date from the date the work permit is authorized, for the duration of employment period approved by Service Canada, provided this is not limited by the validity of the passport or other statutory requirements.
Since there can be a difference of days or weeks between the time the visa officer authorizes the work permit abroad and the time the person appears at the POE, the visa officer should include in GCMS that the work permit should be issued at the POE for the duration of employment approved by Service Canada, as per the Job Details screen. For example, the visa officer abroad should specify in Remarks section: “Issue XX month WP from the date of entry.”
Note: CBSA officers will primarily rely on the remarks to determine the duration of employment of the temporary foreign workers upon their entry in Canada.
Example of a case
The applicant received an LMIA with job Offer Valid To December 31, 2014, for duration of employment of 24 months. The work permit application must be received on or before December 31, 2014, and the work permit to be authorized for a period up to the end of the proposed duration. If the applicant has indicated their intent to start work on December 1, 2014, the work permit will be authorized for a period of 24 months (the duration of employment approved by Service Canada). The visa officer abroad will enter the work permit validity date in the Work Permit Valid Until field in the Temporary Worker screen, as 30-11-2016.
At the port of entry
The applicant arrives at the POE on December 30, 2014, rather than on December 1, 2014, as originally intended and has a passport valid for three years. The BSO should then issue the work permit from the date of entry in Canada, for the Duration of employment approved by Service Canada (specified in the Job Details screen) that is 24 months, until December 30, 2016. The BSO should, accordingly, change the date entered by the visa officer abroad in the Work Permit Valid Until field from November 30, 2016, to the new expiry date of December 30, 2016.
Note: Longer work permit duration
Providing requirements are met, officers should issue work permits for a longer rather than a shorter duration. Where there is no reason to limit duration, officers should issue the work permit for the complete expected duration of the employment. It is in both the Department's and the client‘s best interest to minimize the number of extensions to be processed.
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