Opinion: Labour stops labour


By Lina Chung


Although there are many obstacles for international students to find relevant work in Canada after they graduate,  there is also an obstacle for employers.  It’s called the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Many international post-secondary students who want permanent residency would be seeking to qualify under Immigration Canada’s Skilled Worker category.  This involves completing a  points-based online questionnaire where an applicant is assessed points based on six factors of language skills, education, work experience, age, arranged employment and adaptability factors.

 Immigration: difficult for the student and the employer

Only applicants with the highest points are invited to apply for permanent residency status.

An LMIA is a laborious application a company has to make to Immigration Canada to prove that there is no qualified Canadian available for the job. The employer must provide documentation as to why each Canadian interviewed was not qualified for the job.

For a company that wants to fill a job quickly, this is a  laborious process that they may not have the resources to complete.

A recent Statistics Canada study published in September states only a third of international students stay and work in Canada six years after graduating, possibly due to issues finding work.

Trying the LMIA on for size

I decided to try Immigration Canada’s online questionnaire to figure how many points I’d get under the Skilled Worker category. Although I’m a domestic student, I answered the questionnaire as if I were an international student with good English fluency, aged 30, single, with a Canadian two-year diploma.  Then, I got to work experience and job offer questions:

“In the last ten years, how many years of skilled work experience in Canada do you have?

Since it has to be a job classed as managerial, professional, or skilled trades, I responded none, a situation similar to many international students.

Then this, “Do you have a valid job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment?”

Many international students do not receive this, so I responded no.

I scored 367 out of a possible of 1200 points. Currently, on Immigration Canada’s website, I need a minimum of 450 points to be invited to apply for PR.   Without PR status, international students need to leave the country.

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