How to switch from LMIA to PR?: You may have heard of LMIAs for entry to Canada, or you may already be working in Canada with an LMIA work permit. Now the question is how you can use the LMIA you already have or plan to get from your company to become a permanent resident of Canada (PR).
What does LMIA mean?
LMIA, which stands for “Labour Market Impact Assessment,” is not a fixed immigration program and can’t get you a PR right away without more steps.
An LMIA is a tool, or almost an extra, that can help you get into Canada. Yes, you can apply for a closed work permit if you have a positive LMIA that is tied to your name. But how will it help you if you want to live in Canada permanently?
Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you have a Global Talent Stream LMIA, a low wage LMIA, or a high wage LMIA. The key is to meet the requirements for one of the PR programs we’ll talk about in this piece. Some PR immigration schemes let people work in low-skilled jobs, and some don’t. The LMIA is only there to help.
Here are some ways that an LMIA can help you improve your chances of becoming a permanent resident in Canada.
Canada’s Express Entry
An LMIA is a great way to come to Canada to work for your company who sponsored you under the Temporary Foreign Worker Stream on a closed work permit. It can let you work for your company in Canada and get Canadian work experience.
After a year, you might be able to use the Express Entry sub-stream called the Canadian Experience Class.
Many older foreign applicants who are over 40, have a bachelor’s degree, and have an IELTS score of 6.0 or CLB score of 7 would not be able to use any Express Entry program.
But if they have a valid LMIA tied to their name, they can become qualified for Express Entry, which gives them many more ways to get PR.
Once you have a valid Express Entry, an LMIA can improve your Express Entry profile by letting you choose the valid offer of employment option. This usually gives you 50 bonus points, but based on your NOC code and position, it can give you up to 200 bonus points.
Keep in mind that you can have either a PR-supported LMIA or a regular LMIA that doesn’t support PR, but to become a Canadian PR, you must use Express Entry.
If you have an LMIA, you can use Express Entry to become a PR before you land in Canada without a work permit. If you have an LMIA that doesn’t support PR, you can get a closed work permit and then use Express Entry.
You can use the LMIA job offer points in Express Entry even if it is a year after the LMIA date or when you started working for the company. It doesn’t have to be current.
This LMIA Express Entry method could be a good choice for applicants from inside or outside of Canada whose employers have linked them to a positive LMIA.
Agri-Food Pilot Program
An LMIA can be very helpful for the Federal Agri-Food Pilot Program, which lets you work in Canada for low-skilled jobs with a closed work permit and become qualified for PR in certain agricultural and food processing industries and occupations.
PNP in Canada
An LMIA can do the following things under the state nominee programs:
- Let your company hire you and give you a job offer under the PNP rules without advertising or other efforts to find workers.
- Many PNPs let you get more bonus points to improve your chances in the Provincial Nominee Program if you already have a work permit based on an LMIA or an LMIA-exempt category. To get more points, you may have had to work for the company for 6 or 12 months. As an example, if you have a CLB 5 and work for an employer in Manitoba for at least 6 months, let’s say with an LMIA, then the MPNP (Manitoba PNP) will ask you to apply for PR more than 95% of the time.
- One of our favourite ways to use a Provincial Nominee Program is to combine it with Express Entry. If you get a PNP nomination certificate, you can get 600 extra points. The Express Entry paths for each province are all different. For instance, Ontario doesn’t have an Express Entry method that employer employer-driven. Instead, it has a Human Capital Stream that is only for certain jobs with minimum CRS scores.
- Other provinces, like BC, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and the Atlantic provinces, have employer-driven provincial nominee systems that are linked to Express Entry. This just means that if you are hired by a local employer who is qualified and recommended through the PNP, you can get your PR through Express Entry in 6 months instead of the usual 20 months through the regular route. An LMIA is not required, but based on your profile and the province, it can sometimes help and make the process easier.
Canada’s Business Immigration
Except for one type of application, an LMIA can’t help you with any business, investor, or entrepreneur visa program. Keep in mind that many business and professional work permits, such as Intra-Company Transfer, C10 and C11, Startup Visa, and Intra-Company Transfer, are free from LMIA.
You can only use an LMIA for business immigration if one of the following happens:
- The only way an LMIA is likely to help a company or investor applicant is through an owner/operator LMIA, which is now called an LMIA with investment. If you want to invest in a business and the percentage of share doesn’t matter, this means that an operating business in Canada can apply for this type of LMIA to bring in an executive or director as a future shareholder. With an LMIA, the investor or executive can get a work permit and, depending on the size of the business, 50 or 200 bonus points in Express Entry for the offer of employment.
- The business should already be up and running, and the investment can be made after the LMIA is approved. Service Canada will look at the size of the business, the amount of retained earnings and salaries, and how the investment will help create or keep Canadian jobs.
Since the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is an LMIA-free program with no points, an LMIA does not help or make things easier in any way.
An LMIA is great for skilled immigration programs, but not for family sponsorship, Startup Visa, Entrepreneur, C10, C11, or other business and investing programs.
To sum up, an LMIA by itself is not a direct PR, even if it is a PR-supported LMIA with or without a work permit. However, it can help and improve your chances in the Federal skilled immigration stream, which is based on points, and give you an edge in the Provincial Nominee Skilled Worker stream.
- A tool to get work permit.
- Eligible for the CEC
- Bonus points
- Agri-Food Pilot Program
- Additional points in certain PNPs
- AIP doesn’t require an LMIA
1. What is an LMIA, and how does it relate to PR in Canada?
An LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment, is a document that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. While it doesn’t grant PR directly, it can be a valuable tool to support your journey towards PR in Canada.
2. Can any LMIA help me obtain PR in Canada?
The LMIA’s effectiveness in aiding your PR application depends on your eligibility for specific PR programs. It’s essential to meet the requirements of programs like Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), or other relevant pathways.
3. How does Express Entry work in relation to LMIA?
Express Entry is a points-based system that considers factors like age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. Having a valid LMIA can boost your Express Entry profile by providing bonus points, improving your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR.
4. Can I use LMIA for family sponsorship or business visas?
LMIA is generally not applicable for family sponsorship or business and investor visa programs. These programs have their own eligibility criteria and requirements.
5. What is the significance of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in relation to LMIA?
Some PNPs allow employers to offer you a job without the need for advertising if you have a valid LMIA. Additionally, having a work permit based on LMIA can earn you additional points in certain PNPs, enhancing your chances of PR.
6. Are there any specific LMIA programs for agriculture or low-skilled jobs?
Yes, the Federal Agri-Food Pilot Program is designed for low-skilled jobs in agricultural and food processing industries. An LMIA can be beneficial in this program, potentially leading to PR eligibility.
7. Can I use an LMIA to start or invest in a business in Canada?
Generally, LMIA is not used for business or investor visa programs. However, there is an option called an owner/operator LMIA (LMIA with investment) that may help if you plan to invest in an existing Canadian business and become a future shareholder.
8. Is there a time limit for using an LMIA for PR purposes?
Some PR programs may have specific requirements regarding the timing of your LMIA application or job offer. It’s essential to check the program guidelines and consult with an immigration expert for accurate information.
9. Can I apply for PR in Canada without a job offer supported by an LMIA?
Yes, there are PR programs that do not require a job offer supported by an LMIA. These programs often assess factors like education, work experience, language skills, and other eligibility criteria.
10. How can I stay updated on immigration policies and requirements in Canada?
To stay informed about the latest immigration policies and requirements in Canada, it’s recommended to regularly visit the official website of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or consult with an immigration professional for guidance.
Please note that immigration policies and requirements may change over time, so it’s crucial to refer to official sources or seek legal advice for the most current information.
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