11 min read

How to Get a Positive LMIA and Work Permit for an Existing Employee

Immigration & HR


Jemima Owen-Jones


May 16, 2024

Last Update

July 12, 2024

Table of Contents

Step 1: Choose the appropriate LMIA category

Step 2: Ensure your company and position meet the LMIA eligibility criteria

Step 3: Create a job bank account and post a job vacancy ad

Step 4: Submit an LMIA assessment via the LMIA online portal using your job bank credentials

Step 5: Provide a copy of the positive LMIA letter to your employee

Step 6: Complete biometrics and passport stamping

Step 7: Welcome your employee to Canada

Get total transparency from start to finish with Deel

Key takeaways
  1. Before securing a visa for your existing employee, you need to demonstrate that the position couldn’t be filled by a local Canadian worker.
  2. Both your company and the job role must meet the eligibility criteria outlined by employment and social development Canada (ESDC).
  3. To obtain a positive LMIA and work permit for your employee, you can navigate the LMIA process independently or engage an immigration service like Deel for streamlined, hands-off visa assistance.

If you’re a multinational company looking to relocate existing talent to your Canadian office, you can do so by securing a successful labor market impact assessment (LMIA) visa which enables you to support a Canadian work permit temporarily for an existing worker. 

There are two ways to secure an LMIA work visa and permit for your existing foreign employee: You can undergo the LMIA processes yourself or use an immigration service like Deel.

The latter is more suitable for companies that want a streamlined, hands-off approach to work permit procurement.

If you opt to navigate the process independently, here are the steps you must take:

Step 1: Choose the appropriate LMIA category

To legally work in Canada, foreign nationals need LMIA approval to demonstrate that they are needed to fill the role in Canada and that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. 

The first step is identifying the appropriate type of LMIA category for the employee. There are many different types, each with its own requirements. Some of the most common types of LMIA categories in Canada include:

  • LMIA GTS Category A

  • LMIA GTS Category B

  • LMIA Exempt

You can check the official Canadian government website to determine the most suitable category.

Still not quite sure? Deel Immigration can help you determine the best LMIA category for an existing employee.

Looking for swift talent deployment in North America? 

If you want talent on the ground in North America, consider the Canadian Working Holiday Visa. This visa is suitable for individuals aged between 18 and 35, allowing them to live and work in Canada for 12 to 24 months. 

Deel can streamline the visa application process by engaging the worker through our Canadian entity and sponsoring their visa for an expedited and smooth application experience, or if your organization already has a Canadian entity, we can manage the application process on your behalf. Book time with one of our mobility experts today to start the process.

Note: While this visa provides valuable Canadian work experience—which can enhance a permanent residency (PR) application—it does not offer the LMIA points that could further benefit the PR process.

Step 2: Ensure your company and position meet the LMIA eligibility criteria

The next step is to ensure that your company and the worker’s position in Canada meet the eligibility requirements set by the employment and social development Canada (ESDC). 

The exact criteria depend on the specific visa category you choose, but in general, it includes:

Deel Immigration can perform an initial assessment to ensure you and your existing employee meet the LMIA criteria.

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Next, it’s time to compile evidence demonstrating that you’re unable to fill the position with a local Canadian worker to support your LMIA.

To do this, you must create a job bank account on the government of Canada’s website. With this account, you can post the job vacancy that reflects the above criteria, clearly describing the job duties, required qualifications, salary details, duration of employment, working conditions, and any other relevant terms. You can find more information here

After posting the job ad, advertise the position for at least four weeks. Use various channels such as online job boards, company websites, and local newspapers to reach a wide range of potential applicants.

During the advertising period, actively interview and consider eligible candidates. Document the recruitment process and maintain records of unsuccessful interviews and applications.

Step 4: Submit an LMIA assessment via the LMIA online portal using your job bank credentials

Once you’ve established that no local Canadian worker qualifies or is available for the role, obtaining an LMIA from the ESDC is next.

There are two types of LMIA applications:

  • Standard LMIA applications: These applications are for employers who are hiring foreign workers for permanent positions

  • Streamlined LMIA applications: These applications are for employers who are hiring foreign workers for temporary positions in high-wage occupations

You must pay a fee to submit your LMIA for the position you’re looking to fill.

ESDC will review your application and determine whether to approve it. If your application is approved, ESDC will issue you an LMIA.

With Deel Immigration, the LMIA application process is seamless. Our immigration team handles all the paperwork, including completing the application forms, gathering proof of recruitment efforts, and all supporting business documentation before submitting it to the authorities.


Step 5: Provide a copy of the positive LMIA letter to your employee

You must provide the worker with a valid offer of employment and a digital copy of the LMIA letter. With this letter, the worker can apply for an employer-specific work permit. They can do this from inside Canada or outside Canada.
The foreign worker must apply before the LMIA expiry date. 

To apply for a Canada work permit, the worker must create an account on the immigration, refugees, and citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, complete the online work permit application form, upload the required documents, and pay the application fee before submitting the application. 

The worker must follow these instructions on how to apply.

With Deel Immigration, the employee receives one-on-one support preparing the work permit application. 

Deel onboards the employee onto the user-friendly platform. They’ll be assigned a case manager and asked to provide their personal details and upload supporting documentation, such as their passport, work experience documentation, police clearance certificate, and medical documents, to the platform. 

Deel’s Immigration experts will submit the work permit application to the authorities in the applicant’s country of origin. Depending on the country, the average processing time is 2-4 months.

We can also add family members such as spouses and dependent children to the candidate’s application and support them in obtaining open work permits, allowing them to work for any employer in any occupation without being tied to a specific job offer or location.

The platform provides you and the employee with real-time visa application status updates so you remain informed throughout the process.


Step 6: Complete biometrics and passport stamping

If approved, and the employee is outside Canada, they must book a biometric appointment at their local visa-filling center and attend in person.

Once biometrics are complete, the applicant must send their passport to their local visa-filling center or go to the center in person to submit it and collect a stamp.

With Deel Immigration, the employee receives support throughout this stage. If their permit is approved, Deel will receive a passport request from the Canadian authorities, and we will inform the applicant to send their passport to their local visa-filling center.

Step 7: Welcome your employee to Canada

Once the passport is stamped, your employee can plan their travel to Canada. On arrival at the border, the Canadian border agency issues the final copy of the work permit.

The work permit will be valid for the same duration as the LMIA. You should retain accurate records related to the employment of foreign workers, including copies of the LMIA, job offer, and any communication with immigration authorities. This is important for compliance and potential future audits.

With Deel Immigration, the workers can upload their work authorization and travel documents to the Deel platform, where they are verified by immigration specialists and securely stored.

To ensure the applicant and their family maintain legal status in Canada, Deel Immigration provides timely reminders and alerts for upcoming visa renewal or extension deadlines. Additionally, we can handle all future applications for visa holders.


Get total transparency from start to finish with Deel

No longer will you be left in the dark during the work permit application process. Deel is re-inventing the immigration journey to make it stress-free and predictable for both workers and companies. 

Our global HR platform has everything you need to support your global team. You can:

  • Check a candidate’s visa or work authorization eligibility before creating a contract or embarking on a visa application 

  • Get visa support for your existing workers hired through your own entities

  • Have Deel hire and sponsor your applicant’s visa if you don’t have the right sponsorship infrastructure

  • Oversee all company immigration activities and costs via your dashboard and receive reminders when work authorizations are due to expire or need renewal 

  • Create work contracts that comply with all local labor laws 

  • Run background checks

  • Administer benefits and perks, including healthcare, equity, and retirement plans 

  • Provision equipment and flexible coworking space memberships 

  • Run global payroll 

  • Manage your team with Deel Engage plugins for smooth onboarding, time off, pulse surveys, and more

Sound like the ideal solution? Learn more about Deel’s visa and immigration services, or book 30 minutes with a product expert to get your questions answered.

We make mobility and immigration simple, transparent, and fun. We want our clients to be able to outsource the complexity to Deel and let Deel Immigration help them expand globally quickly and compliantly.

Kamylle Mourão,

Senior Manager, Global Mobility, Deel

Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.

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