The academic community is an international one, and UBC welcomes new faculty members from around the world.
When a UBC department wishes to hire a foreign academic, who is neither a citizen nor permanent resident of Canada, the university will assist in obtaining a temporary work permit in order for the individual to legally work and receive salary in Canada.
For all foreign academic positions, except for adjunct professors, postdoctoral fellows and visitors, a recruitment process must be followed in accordance with guidelines established by both the University and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada (SC). Please refer to the following sections to find out more:
Labour market exemption or impact assessment
There are normally two ways in which foreign academics can obtain a temporary work permit: under a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption, or through an LMIA.
Faculty Relations arranges for all LMIAs or LMIA exemptions for tenure stream faculty and research associates. LMIA exemptions may be granted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in specific circumstances, such as a work permit granted for an accompanying spouse, or a post graduation work permit granted to a recent graduate of a Canadian university.
The following are the typical LMIA exemptions that apply to faculty members:
- Free Trade Agreement (FTA) exemption: U.S. and Mexican citizens who meet the definition of Business Professionals fall under the new Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, and Chilean citizens fall under the Chilean Free Trade Agreement. Departments submit the appropriate documents from the documentation required list (below) to UBC's faculty relations department, which will confirm eligibility and pre-approval from IRCC.
- Award recipient exemption: Foreign academics who are the direct recipient of an award that's strictly based on academic excellence may apply for a work permit under an LMIA exemption. Departments submit the appropriate documents from the documentation required list (below) to UBC's faculty relations department, which will confirm eligibility and pre-approval from IRCC.
- Visiting professor exemption: Visiting foreign academics with a current faculty appointment at their home institution fall under this exemption. This is regardless of citizenship and is limited to two years under IRCC rules. Department administrators are responsible for preparing the necessary documents for submission to IRCC.
- Postdoctoral Fellow exemption: Recent PhDs who have accepted a postdoctoral position at UBC fall under this exemption. This is regardless of citizenship. Department administrators are responsible for preparing the necessary documents for submission to IRCC.
A positive LMIA must be obtained for all other foreign academics. The LMIA is an opinion provided by Service Canada to IRCC (and the employer), which assesses the likely impact that hiring a foreign academic may have on the Canadian labour market. Please also note that Service Canada will not normally consider providing LMIAs for part-time positions.
Supporting documentation required for all foreign academic appointments where Faculty Relations will be obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment or an exemption:
|Document Required||LMIA Exemption||LMIA|
|Foreign Academic Data Form (FADF) Send in Word Version||FADF for Exemption||FADF for LMIA|
|If currently visiting or working in Canada, copy of current work permit or visa||Yes||Yes|
|Copies of the advertisement (as it appeared in all publications/websites in which it was posted and with proof of posting dates/range)|| Yes
(one copy only with list of placements)
|Yes (all copies)|
|List of all Canadian/Permanent Residents who applied, including reasons why each was not chosen *send digital copy*||No||Yes|
|Copy of offer letter accepted and signed by faculty member||Yes||Yes|
|Copy of identification page of the Foreign Academic’s passport||Yes||Yes|
|Labour Market Impact Assessment Payment Form (complete only last page)||No||Yes|
|Offer of Employment Compliance Fee Payment Form||Yes||No|
Additional review: Please note that for foreign tenure/track appointments at the rank of Associate or Full Professor or any appointment with tenure will also need to be reviewed by the Senior Appointments Committee (SAC). For more information, please review the online information regarding Tenure, Promotion and Reappointment.
Record keeping requirements
Note that UBC units are required to keep copies of all information and documentation relating to the recruitment and hiring process for a period for six years following the hire date of the foreign worker, and that an audit could be performed at anytime during that six-year period.
Please refer to the Employment and Social Development Canada website for further details.
Information for administrators regarding immigration processes:
- NAFTA exemption for Faculty Members: NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which includes citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Other guides and information
Work Permit Renewal
Faculty members employed at UBC on a work permit are required to renew their work permits prior to the expiry of their current work permit if their appointment is to continue beyond the expiry of their current work permit.
A system-generated reminder letter is sent to Faculty members four months in advance of the expiry of a work permit date, reminding them of their work permit expiry date. A copy of this letter is also sent to the faculty member’s department/school. Upon receipt of the reminder, the faculty member must work with their academic unit to arrange the renewal of their work permit. It is important to start this process as early as possible since the process can be lengthy thus delaying the arrival of a work permit which has implications for medical coverage and a faculty member’s ability to travel outside of Canada. The steps involved in renewing a work permit are found below.
Renewal of Work Permits for Foreign Academics (excluding Postdocs, Clinical Fellows & Visiting Faculty)
1. Faculty member contacts their department/school. In the case of individuals with term positions, a determination will need to be made as to whether or not he/she will be reappointed at the same rank.
2. Department administrator forwards to Faculty Relations (UBCV)/Human Resources (UBCO) the necessary documents noted on the Recruitment of Foreign Academics page. This is including work permit renewals for individuals who do not require a LMIA to obtain a work permit.
3. Faculty Relations (UBCV)/Human Resources (UBCO) completes the necessary paperwork to request a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if applicable.
Please note: Service Canada requires that all positions held by foreign academics must be re-advertised and a new LMIA must be requested (the LMIA must be requested within 3 months of the closing date of the ad), except for tenure stream faculty. Please refer to the Recruitment of Foreign Academics page for further information.
The only exceptions to the LMIA requirement are as follows:
a) NAFTA: For a faculty member who has entered Canada under the NAFTA exemption, Faculty Relations will send information to the member on how to renew under the terms of NAFTA. The department will also need to produce a letter reconfirming the faculty member’s appointment at UBC (skip to step 6).
b) Research Award Recipients: Research award recipients (e.g. CRCs or LEEF Chairs) who entered on Research Award exemption can renew their work permits as long as they continue to hold their research award. Faculty Relations will send information to the member on how to renew their work permit. The department will also need to produce a letter reconfirming the faculty member’s appointment at UBC (skip to step 6).
c) Provincial Nominee Program: In the case of PNP applicants who will not receive their permanent residency prior to the expiry of their current work permit, they should contact the PNP office directly to arrange for a letter from the PNP office to be used for renewal the work permit (skip to step 6).
4. For renewals under an LMIA, Faculty Relations (UBCV)/Human Resources (UBCO) sends the LMIA request to Service Canada. Note that it can take several weeks for Service Canada to process the request.
For renewals under an LMIA exemption, Faculty Relations (UBCV)/Human Resources (UBCO) will complete the Offer of Employment Form upon receipt of the necessary documents and compliance fee form from the department.
5. For renewals under an LMIA, Service Canada will issue a Labour Market Impact Assessment; if the application is successful Faculty Relations will email the LMIA to the faculty member as soon as it is received.
For renewals under an LMIA exemption, Faculty Relations will provide the Offer of Employment number that has been obtained from IRCC.
6. Upon receipt of the necessary document/instructions from Faculty Relations/Human Resources (or Academic Unit in the case of Fellows and Visitors) the faculty member completes a request to extend their work permit and submits the application to the (IRCC) office along with the other documents required by IRCC. The faculty member must pay the processing fee (currently $155) prior to submitting their application. IRCC processing times vary during the year and individuals are advised to check the IRCC website for information on processing times. Please note that the application must be submitted prior to the expiry date of the current work permit; preferably far enough in advance to ensure that the new work permit is received around the expiry date of the current work permit.
Those faculty members who also require a temporary resident visa (TRV) should be aware that should they leave Canada they will need to apply for a another TRV. The application for the TRV is made from outside of Canada.
If applicable, a request to renew an accompanying spouse and/or child’s work or study permit or temporary resident status is made at the same time and on the same application form as the faculty member.
7. Faculty member receives their new work permit. Upon receipt they must immediately apply for a new SIN card.
8. Faculty member uploads a copy of the new work permit and SIN card to Workday. Alternately they can provide these to their department administrator who will arrange for Workday to be updated. Refer to the Implied Status & MSP section for further details.
If the new work permit does not arrive prior to the expiry of the current one please forward a copy of the proof of submission of application to IRCC to the department administrator. As long as the faculty member has applied for their new work permit prior to the expiry of their current one they will have implied status (refer to Implied Status section for more details).
Renewal of Work Permits for Visitors and Postdoctoral Fellows
1. Visitor/Postdoctoral Fellows contacts their department/school to make arrangements, if necessary, to continue their stay at UBC. Note that Visitors may only spend a maximum of 2 years at UBC; Postdoctoral Fellows appointments are limited to 5 years, with the Dean’s approval.
2. If the appointment is to be renewed, the department administrator arranges for a new Letter of Offer/Invitation to be produced and provides it to the Visitor/Postdoctoral Fellow along with the IRCC Offer of Employment number and proof of payment of the compliance fee.
Implied Status refers to a foreign worker’s status when they are continuing in the same position, have applied for a new work permit prior to the expiry of their current permit and are awaiting a decision from IRCC. It is important to note that should a foreign worker leave Canada while they have implied status their status expires and they will have to re-apply for status. Should a foreign worker be without status the University must cease processing pay to the individual.
If a faculty member has not received their work permit prior to the expiry of the current one they must provide a copy the Confirmation of Receipt Letter issued by IRCC to Faculty Relations/Human Resources. If the application for a new work permit is made in paper format a copy of the payment receipt as well as proof that the application is delivered (e.g. Canada post tracking information) must be supplied. This provides UBC with the confirmation that the member has implied status, which allows UBC to continue to pay the faculty member.
Please refer to the helpful Implied Status ‘Map’ that illustrates when implied status is in effect and what the implications are if out of status.
Further details on Implied Status is found on the IRCC website.
Work Permit Renewals and MSP Coverage
If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in MSP, your medical coverage will end at the end of the month that your work permit expires. If you are applying for a new work permit, it is important that you apply as far in advance as possible to avoid a lapse in medical coverage.
Once you receive your new work permit, you must provide to MSP directly. You can upload your documentation through Health Insurance BC’s website. If you have a lapse in coverage contact them through Health Insurance BC directly for reinstatement or extension of coverage.
Please note that it may take as long as 90 days for MSP to process the reinstatement of benefits. MSP coverage will not be active during this time and you will need to personally pay for any medical expenses incurred during this time. Once your MSP benefit is reinstated, you may request reimbursement for these expenses from Health Insurance BC by completing their Reimbursement Request form.
If you have any questions about your MSP, please contact Health Insurance BC directly.