Unless an exemption applies to your situation, you will need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and an employment offer from your Canadian employer to be eligible for an LMIA Work Permit.

These two documents are mandatory components of your application package.

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly referred to as Labour Market Opinion – LMO) is a government document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to qualified employers. 

Essentially, a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) states that there is an actual, verified need for a foreign worker to fill a job. In short, it gives an employer a permission to hire foreign workers. 

It specifies what occupation the employer can hire a foreign worker for, at what wage, location and what skills the foreign worker must have to obtain an LMIA work permit.

What Is An Employment Offer

An Employment Offer is an official letter from your Canadian employer, which confirms that an employment has been offered to you. 

The letter must state your name, position/occupation with the company, pay rate and any deductions, duties, hours of work per week or month, whether it is a temporary or permanent offer and any other conditions of the employment. 

The document must be signed by an authorized person in the company and include contact information. The conditions of the job offer should match those listed in the LMIA decision.

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LMIA Work Permit Application

Step 1: Obtain a Copy of the Employer's Approved LMIA

In order to start an LMIA Work Permit application, your Canadian employer should provide you with a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment decision. 

Although you may only need the LMIA decision number, having a copy of the document is preferable. 

Note that the employer has to submit your name to ESDC to assign the LMIA position specifically to you. This must be done before you submit the work permit application.


The employer should inform you in detail what requirements for the position were specified in the LMIA application. In particular, you will need to know what education, work experience and English/French language levels were requested by the employer. This is crucial for the success of your LMIA work permit application. You will need to provide supporting documents to show that you meet these requirements.

Step 2: Prepare Your LMIA Work Permit Application

A complete LMIA Work Permit Application consists of application forms, supporting documents and the applicable processing fees. Although most forms and supporting documents are the same no matter what country you apply from, you should always check the country-specific guide for any additional documents required.

Application Forms

Document checklist for a work permit [IMM 5488]

Application for Work Permit made outside Canada [IMM 1295]

Family Information Form [IMM 5707]

Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union [IMM 5409] (only applicable if you have an accompanying partner who is not your wife or husband)

Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (This form applies only when you are using a representative to help you with the application)

Authority to release personal information to a designated individual [IMM 5475] (This form applies only when you are giving another person the right to inquire about the status of your application. This person will not however be able to represent you and conduct business on your behalf with IRCC)

Supporting Documents

The main supporting documents are listed in the application checklist as well as in the country-specific guide. However, some of the required documents are described only vaguely. 

Therefore, it is your responsibility, as the applicant, to provide all documentation proving your qualifications for the job. 

Additionally, it is advisable, especially if you are from a visa-required country, to supply documentation to demonstrate ties to your home country, travel history and the genuine intent to work in Canada only as authorized.

Supporting documents include:

  • A copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • A copy of the employment offer
  • Proofs that your are meeting the requirements of the job being offered (Here is where you would supply documents showing you education, work experience and English/French language skills.)
  • Photographs (of the applicant)
  • Applicable fees
  • Optional documents showing ties to the home country and genuine intent to work in Canada as authorized

Step 3: Submit Your LMIA Work Permit Application

If you are from a visa-required country, you will need to apply at a visa office in your country of citizenship or residence. You can apply either online or in paper via mail.

Persons from countries that do not require visa to enter Canada have an option to apply at a Port-of-Entry (POE). In other words, you can apply at the place where you enter Canada. It may be a Canadian airport, land crossing or harbor.

Note that if you arrive to Canada by an airplane (visa-exempt applicants), you will need to get an eTA prior to boarding an airplane. 

Alternatively, you can choose to get pre-approved by a visa office in your country of citizenship or residence via an online or paper application.

Step 4: Give Biometrics

As of summer 2018, most foreign workers must give biometric information prior to entering Canada. For online and paper application, you will receive a letter with instructions where to go to provide biometrics. Eligible applicants submitting work permit applications on arrival to Canada will be able to give biometrics at the POE.