Foreign Workers Being Charged to Work for Employers: An In-Depth Examination

Foreign Workers Being Charged to Work for Employers: An In-Depth Examination

As global trade and businesses continue to expand, more and more companies are seeking to recruit foreign workers to help support their operations. While this can be an excellent opportunity for these workers to gain valuable experience and earn a good living, in some cases, they are being asked to pay for the privilege of working for their employers. We have heard many stories like this recently.

What is a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

An LMIA is a document that is required for employers who want to hire foreign workers in Canada. The LMIA assesses the impact that hiring foreign workers would have on the Canadian labor market, taking into account factors such as the availability of Canadian workers and the prevailing wages for similar positions. The LMIA is intended to help protect Canadian workers and ensure that the Canadian labor market is not negatively impacted by the hiring of foreign workers.

Why Are Foreign Workers Being Charged to Obtain an LMIA?

The main reason that foreign workers are being charged to obtain an LMIA is because they are no longer employees of their current employers. When a worker is laid off or let go, they are no longer considered employees, and as such, they cannot be hired by another employer without obtaining an LMIA. This is where the problem arises, temporary workers are being asked to pay for the LMIA themselves as they need the paperwork to remain in Canada. Even though it is legally the responsibility of the employer to obtain and pay for this document, they know they can get away with it due to the desperation of the temporary foreign worker to remain in Canada.

The Impact of LMIA Charges on Foreign Workers

The charges for obtaining an LMIA can be significant. Two workers came to us to ask what they could do. Due to fear of retribution they asked that they not be named. The amount of money they were being asked for was $30,000 and it would need to be repaid within 3 years. We recommended that they file a complaint with Canadian Immigration, and also that they should continue to seek other employers who would not charge them. 

What Can Be Done to Address LMIA Charges for Foreign Workers?

It is important for workers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to obtaining an LMIA. This can help them to make informed decisions about their employment options, and ensure that they are not being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers.  Bottom line is that Employers are responsible to pay and obtain this document should they wish to hire a foreign worker to be employed in their establishment.  There are statements in this same regard on the Service Canada website as well as on the LMIA application itself, not to mention the Employment Contract that both parties are to sign and submit with the application.


Foreign workers play an important role in the Canadian economy, and it is essential that they are treated fairly and with respect. The issue of LMIA charges for foreign workers is a complex one, but there are steps that can be taken to address it. By working together, employers, government, and workers can help to ensure that foreign workers are able to take advantage of new job opportunities, and that they are not unfairly disadvantaged.

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