If you are considering going through the LMIA process, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is Service Canada, or ESDC, permitting an employer to hire a foreign worker. We spoke to Leann Iamartino, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant at Foothills Immigration, to offer some expert insight on why it might be right for you. In its simplest form, the LMIA is a business obtaining permission to hire an employee from another country based on a set of rules and specifications they must meet. When an employer's LMIA is approved, it is then used to extend or initiate the applicant's work permit. Going this route can be attractive to employers for several reasons. While the process isn't easy and can be time-consuming and costly for an employer, it's often worth it to secure an employee for a set number of months. Furthermore, there are experts, such as Leann and her team at Foothills Immigration, who can take the burden off and support you through the process.
So, why would you consider going through the LMIA process? Good question.
Open Up Your Hiring Pool
"For employers in Canmore and Banff, for example, you get a lot of people who are coming from other countries on working holiday visas," Leann explained. "You may get people from Australia to the UK, for instance, who join your team on a working holiday visa (which is an open work permit, allowing them to work wherever they choose." She noted that if you land yourself an employee that is an incredible worker and you want to keep them employed with your company, you might want to do whatever you can to keep them around. "If they can't apply for a visa extension and their visa expires soon, an LMIA is the way to go," Leann told us.
“You can secure really, really phenomenal employees who may have started working for you on an open work permit. A lot of them do. If they've proven to be an incredible asset to your organization, you likely want to keep them on board" she continued.
As an employer, being open to the LMIA process opens up your hiring pool in a big way in a place where it's hard to find employees. Not only do you attract great, passionate employees, but you gain valuable, long-term team members.
Gain Valuable Team Members
"As a generalized statement, many international employees have worked hard to secure their initial visa and essentially get to Canada in the first place," said Leann. "They've come here to expand their knowledge or share their knowledge, and they're choosing to do this as opposed to someone who is simply looking for a temporary position while they're in town (or skiing for a season!)." Of course, this is only the case with some, but if you find a valuable employee who is adding value to your business, you'll want to keep them. "There's definitely a lot of perks of hiring foreign workers, but it needs to be done correctly" Leann reflected.
"People all over the world have certain skill sets and certifications, but you can't train personality and an affinity for various things. And so if you have someone that just has a certain something that you want for your business, you need them, not just a body to fill the role," she said. The LMIA process allows you to invest in employees who have shown that they are valuable and are passionate about the prospect of a future within your business.
As a business owner, it's not just about attracting great employees. It's about keeping them. "The LMIA process is daunting to some employers. It's a big application, and it can be confusing as it requires many moving parts," said Leann. If you have the option between investing time and money into a long-term employee you know to be amazing (because they’re already working for you) or taking your chance on people who may not even stick around beyond the ski season, which would you choose? As a business owner in an area where hiring isn't always the easiest and finding and maintaining great staff is a huge struggle, longevity is key above all else. This is not to say that every international employee is going to be an invaluable asset for you, but it is to say that it's worth investing in those who are.
You're a business owner, and like most business owners, you probably value your time above all else. If the only thing holding you back from doing this is not having time or knowledge, work with a professional because you might end up spending more time and money if you don't.