Hiring a Foreign Worker

Valid Work Permit Required

Foreign workers (those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents) require a valid work permit in order to work in Canada. A Canadian work permit is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The valid work permit must include:

  • “UBC” or “Open” as the employer
  • An appropriate occupation
  • Valid start and end dates that cover the appointment period

When hiring staff members, UBC gives hiring preference to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Sometimes, if you cannot find a qualified Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have a qualified foreign worker, you can work with Human Resources (HR) to acquire a work permit for the new employee.

Labour Market Opinions (LMO)

To hire a foreign worker (not a Canadian or permanent resident) who does not already possess a valid work permit, you may need to obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) depending on the foreign worker’s nationality and the type of position before the foreign worker can start working in your department.

There are several things that need to be completed prior to the LMO being submitted, such as national advertising, a justification for why there is no qualified Canadian to perform the work, etc. As these requirements change depending on the economic conditions of Canada, please see the HRSDC website on Temporary Foreign Workers for the most up-to-date information.

UBC HR will work with the department administrator or manager on the LMO request and will submit the request on behalf of the University.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Under Chapter 16 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of Canada, the United States, and Mexico can gain quicker, easier temporary entry into the three countries to conduct business or investment activities.

Business people covered by NAFTA under the Professional designation do not need a labour market opinion from HR and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). This means that Canadian employers do not need to have a job offer approved by HRSDC (LMO) to employ a United States or Mexican business person, as set out in NAFTA.

A professional must:

  • Be qualified to work in one of the more than 60 professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of Chapter 16 of NAFTA (for example, accountant, computer systems analyst, engineer, management consultant or technical publications writer)
  • Have pre-arranged employment with a Canadian enterprise (UBC) in an occupation that matches the qualification

A list of the 60 professions can be found on the Foreign Affairs website.

If the position does not fall under one of the 60 professions listed, then an LMO will be required (see above).

Assistance with Hiring a Foreign Worker

Please contact your HR Associate for assistance in hiring a foreign worker.

Updated July 2014

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