Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has recently updated the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application forms, which includes a new formula to distinguish between the “high-wage” and “low-wage” application streams. The formula will rely on wages-paid rather than prevailing wage, which will most likely result in a greater number of applicants qualifying as “high-wage.” This will also impact access to expedited processing, as only the highest-paid occupations (wages in the top 10% above the provincial or territorial median) are permitted to receive 10-day expedited processing.

This change comes as a result of reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Applicants in the “high-wage” stream must present a plan for transitioning to a Canadian workforce. However, applicants in the “low-wage” stream are subject to caps on the number of foreign workers that may work at any given work site. Additionally, if within a sector of a region with the unemployment rate at or above 6%, these applications face a blanket moratorium.

With these changes, “high-wage” occupations are any occupations for which the wage paid is greater than the provincial or territorial median wage. “Low-wage” occupations are any occupations for which the wage paid is lower than the provincial or territorial median wage.

Employers should review pending LMIA applications to verify which type of occupation they qualify as and should prepare transition plans in case a “low-wage” occupation now qualifies as a “high-wage” occupation. Additionally, employers should note that they may request a two-year LMIA for high-wage applications.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.