Recruiting Foreign Academics

When a Department wishes to hire a foreign academic, who is neither a citizen nor permanent resident of Canada, the University must 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 4 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: 1) under a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption or 2) through a LMIA. Please note that Faculty Relations arranges for all LMIAs or LMIA exemptions for tenure stream faculty & Research Associates. Exceptions to the above may be granted by IRCC under special circumstances, for example, a work permit granted for an accompanying spouse or a foreign worker or a post graduation work permit granted to a recent graduate of a Canadian University.

The following are the LMIA exemptions that apply to faculty members:

  • Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Exemption: US and Mexican citizens who meet the definition of Business Professionals fall under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Chilean citizens fall under the Chilean Free Trade Agreement. Departments submit a Request for LMIA Exemption to Faculty Relations who will confirm eligibility and pre-approval from IRCC.
  • Award Recipient Exemption: Foreign academics who are the direct recipient of an award that is strictly based on academic excellence may apply for a work permit under an LMIA exemption. Departments submit a Request for LMIA Exemption to Faculty Relations who 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 2 years under IRCC rules. Department Administrators are responsible for preparing the necessary documents for submission to IRCC (see invitation page for further information).
  • 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 (see invitation page for further information).

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.

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Documentation Required

The following table outlines the supporting documentation required by Faculty Relations 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 Recruitment Summary (FARS)  No  Yes
Foreign Academic Data Form (complete all sections)  Yes  Yes 
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  No Yes
Copy of offer letter accepted and signed by faculty member Yes  Yes
Faculty Appointment Form* signed by Head and Dean Yes Yes
Request for LMIA Exemption Yes  No
Copy of identification page of the Foreign Academic’s passport  Yes Yes
Copy of degree  Yes  Yes
Labour Market Impact Assessment Payment Form (complete only page 14)  No Yes

*The completed Faculty Appointment Form must be received before Faculty Relations will forward the LMIA or LMIA exemption to the faculty member.

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 & Reappointment.

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Recordkeeping Requirements

Note that units are required to keep copies of all information and documentation relating to the recruitment and hiring process for a period for 6 years following the hire date of the foreign worker and that and audit could be performed at anytime during that 6 year period. Please refer to the Employment and Social Development Canada website for further details.

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