I thought I would share my experiences with LMO processing times. I am an employer in Alberta and have 3 seperate businesses that employ foreign workers, and so have to constantly apply for LMO's.
September 14, 2011 - received letter from HRSDC that acknowledges they have received my LMO application. They also provide a file number for reference. NOTE: this file number can be included in the comments section of the application for a Work Permit (you can apply for a work permit while waiting for confirmation of the LMO). The HRSDC will always provide a letter with a file # stating that they have received the LMO application.
It is now January 4th and I have yet to have a response from HRSDC regarding this LMO application. The foreign workers work permits expired while we are waiting for the LMO approval (I had originally applied for an LMO in May but had made a very slight error in my application and so they denied that LMO) I have called HRSDC and spoken to them to inquire about the LMO, and while they can tell me that an agent has the application in hand, they cannot tell me much more than that (still good to know that it has not been denied, or that my fax machine might have goofed up and I missed a letter from them)
Also in 2 other seperate LMO applications it took 4 to 5 weeks to get this acknowlegement that the application had been received, so even that part is very slow.
So if you have a valid Work Permit and are waiting for an LMO you can apply for a new work permit.
If your work permit has expired you have 90 days to file for a restoration and work permit ($350 total)
If you are an employer you need to start the LMO application process 6 to 8 months ahead of the expiry of anyone's work permit.
I also note that the CIC (responsible for Work Permit approvals) have seen their processing times fall rather quickly - I suspect they are catching up and getting ahead while waiting for the HRSDC to get it together (Is there some sort of work slow down or other protest going on at HRSDC?) It used to be the other way around - HRSDC was relatively quick and CIC was taking many many weeks.
To apply for a work permit electronically with CIC you need:
To open an online account at their CIC ACCESS site - a userid and password - keep them as you use them forever.
- a copy of your passport (save it as Jpeg, PDF or TIFF and PNG file)
- a valid job offer (contract - available from HRSDC site or do your own that has all the correct details) - saved as above
- an LMO or File # for reference - saved as above if have LMO or just make note of it in the comments area of the Work Permit application
- a copy of your medical you took prior to coming to Canada - or explain why you don't have it (as in the embassy kept it)
- every entry date you have had to come into Canada
- you can pay online while still in the CIC ACCESS aplication area - you will need a valid credit card - other options available but harder to work with- you will get an e-mail with the payment - you can also save this to any file.
Thanks very much for sharing your experience! It must be equally as frustrating for the employer as for the employee to be in this situation. I will have lost 3 months worth of income by the end of this process and my employer will have lost a lot of potential revenue. I was supposed to start this job in November. It is lucky my employer has been so patient and has not hired somebody else in the mean time.
At least because I am from Europe, I will be able to get my Work Permit at the port of entry so once my LMO is back I should be able to get started quite quickly.
M2b, how long does it usually take for them to get back with the decision after they phone the employer to ask more questions? My employer answered more questions on the 20th of December. On the 23rd it was mailed of to somebody else at HRSDC, who is going to make the final decision. Do you think this is a normal procedure?
HRSDC are apparently slowing down due to serious staff shortages, I read the following info on another forum:
The delay on the west coast is due to the 3 provincial offices being amalgamated into 1 and on the east coast it is due to staff being moved from processing LMO's to Employment insurances instead.
With such a long processing time they should really give the work permit for 2 years instead of a year. If it gets any worse the employer will end up having to apply for a new LMO before the foreign worker has even started the actual job.
Maybe it is possible for employers to complain to the government about this situation. I can completely understand that they want to be strict about who they let into the country, but this situation is bad for the Canadian economy.