Immigration Procedures for Academic Staff


"Work" is defined by the Government of Canada Regulations as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labor market.

A foreign National coming to work in Canada, such as those holding an academic appointment, will require a Temporary Work Permit.

There are two different programs for temporary foreign worker to Canada:

  1. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
  2. The International Mobility Program (IMP)

Also, there are some positions exempt from Temporary Work Permit requirements.

When a Foreign National accepts an academic appointment at McGill University, the Immigration Services in APO will request the necessary documents to process the Temporary Work Permit application.

Work Permit Exemptions

There are few categories that are exempt from the Temporary Work Permit requirements. This includes but is not restricted to the following categories:

  • Academic consultants and examiners (R186(n));
  • Guest speakers (R186(j));
    Public Speakers for specific events such as a convention, graduation ceremonies, seminars, workshops, or other related teaching or research activity. In all cases, the event should not exceed 5 days. Guest speakers invited for a period of 6 days and over require a Temporary Work Permit
  • Self-funded researchers (R186(a))
    Persons doing self-funded research are considered exempt from the Temporary Work Permit requirements provided, no Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident Employee is displaced, and there is no Employer-Employee relationship. Must not exceed 6 months.

Recruitment under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the employer, McGill University, will complete the process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Service Canada, and a Quebec Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).

When hiring an academic Temporary Foreign National, the Department/Faculty must advertise the position in accordance with ESDC’s guidelines:

  • Advertise vacant positions in Canada; in both English and French
  • Make sure any vacant position advertised abroad is also advertised simultaneously in Canada;
  • Advertise for a reasonable length of time (about a month) to allow broad exposure of the vacancy to Canadians and permanent residents;
  • Demonstrate that the advertising medium used - web, print or electronic - is effective in attracting appropriate candidates for the position;
  • Include in the advertisement this statement: "All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority."
  • Meet all conditions of applicable collective agreements.

When the recruitment process is complete, the appropriate forms and payment form must be completed and mailed to the TFW unit of Service Canada. The Immigration Services in APO is in charge of applying for the LMIA’s for tenure-stream/tenured academic and full-time ranked Contract Academic Staff (CAS).

The immigration process for all other categories/occupations is initiated by the recruiting department/faculty.

Recruitment under the International Mobility Program (IMP)

When appointing a Foreign National under the International Mobility Program (IMP), the employer must apply for an offer of employment number on CIC Employer’s portal, and must pay the employer compliance fee.

The International Mobility Program encompasses all streams of Temporary Work Permit applications that are LMIA-Exempt. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Trade Agreements
    - NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
    NAFTA allows for simplified temporary entry procedures for professionals, including university professors. This exemption applies only for temporary positions and should not be employed for tenured positions.
    NAFTA provisions are restricted to Citizens of Canada, the United States of American, and Mexico. Permanent residents of one of the countries stated above are subject to the procedures under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

    - CCFTA Canadian Chile Free Trade Agreement
    CCFTA is similar to NAFTA and include citizens of Chile.
    The appointment must not exceed two academic years and the applicant must retain a position abroad.
    The lecturer appointment must not exceed one academic term (4 months).
    This exemption category applies to foreign nationals who will bring a significant benefit to the community. Applicants under this category must be leaders in their fields and must be recognized as such by their peers.
    The applicant must be the direct recipient of an academic award involving work and remuneration. This exemption is also applicable to research award paid by foreign institutions.
    The applicant must hold a Ph.D. or its equivalent and be appointed to a time-limited position. McGill University Guidelines stipulates that this period cannot exceed 5 years.
    Falling under the International Experience Canada program, this exemption includes several other organizations such as Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP) or International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) and targets foreign youth.

When in doubt about the applicable program or procedures to implement with the hiring of an academic Foreign National, please contact Mr. oscar.castillo [at] (Oscar Castillo), Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant at (514) 398-1407, or Me. salima.djerroud [at] (Salima Djerroud), Immigration Advisor at (514) 398-8029 for guidance.

For inquiries related to the Post-Docs, Graduate Research Trainee (GRT), and students please contact the International Student Services office at McGill: INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SERVICES

Foreign National Responsibility

  1. Temporary Work Permit

    Following receipt of the validated approvals from the Federal and Provincial Governments, or receipt of the Offer of Employment number from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Immigration Services in APO at McGill will provide the Foreign National with the required documents and proper instructions to getting the Temporary Work Permit.

    The Foreign National’s responsibility is to determine whether to apply for the Temporary Work Permit on–line, or by mail.

    When applying on-line or by mail, please read the questions carefully as your answers will determine the documents you will need to submit. Any missing or wrong information may cause delays processing the application.

    The responsibility of the Foreign National is to review the information reflected on the Temporary Work Permit for accuracy. Mistakes on the Temporary Work Permit may cause delays in getting other important documents such as a Social Insurance Number and Medicare Card.

    Note: Visa-Exempt Foreign National may apply for the Temporary Work Permit at a Port of Entry (PoE). Contact a member of the Immigration Services in APO to assess your particular situation and to determine if any/all of the following is required:

  2. Open Work Permit for spouses and partners

    Spouses (including common-law partners) of non-Canadian faculty members may obtain Open Work Permits without having a specific job offer. The application for an Open Work Permit may be done at the same time as the main applicant’s, or afterward.

    This provision does not apply to foreign spouses of Canadian faculty members.

  3. Fees

    The cost of the Temporary Work Permit and/or the Open Work Permit is the responsibility of the Foreign National (worker) and not the Employer. Foreign Nationals accompanied by their spouse must pay an additional fee for the processing of the Open Work Permit. These fees are not reimbursed by the University. Please check the CIC website for current fees.

  4. Travel Authorization

    Depending on the country of citizenship, the Foreign National may require a Temporary Resident Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization to enter Canada. For details, follow this link.

  5. Work Permit Renewal

    Renewing the Temporary Work Permit is subject to the same procedures implemented for the initial permit. The Immigration Services in APO will assist the Foreign Nationals with their applications for Permanent Residency.

  6. Permanent Residency

    Upon arrival, all tenure-track/tenured academic staff on Temporary Work Permits are strongly encouraged to start the procedures to obtain permanent resident status as soon as possible. For further information and assessment, please contact Mr. oscar.castillo [at] (Oscar Castillo), or Me. salima.djerroud [at] (Salima Djerroud). Also be advised that French proficiency will likely be required.

About Immigration Services in APO

Immigration Services in the Academic Personnel Office (APO) at McGill University provides assistance to the Foreign National Academic Professors employed on Tenure Track, Tenured and/or full-time ranked Contract Academic Staff (CAS). The mission/objective of the immigration services section is to ensure proper and timely implementation of the procedures relating to the Temporary Work Permit and Permanent Residency (PR).


Immigration policy and procedures are constantly subject to changes. Therefore, the information provided on this site does not constitute a legal advice. Foreign National Professors are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting the members of the Immigration team found below.

Contact Persons

Questions relating to Temporary Work Permits, Temporary Work Permits renewals, as well as Permanent Residency may be directed to either one of the following persons as specified below:

  • For the Faculties of Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Libraries, Medicine or Science:
    Mr. oscar.castillo [at] (Oscar Castillo), Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant at (514) 398-1407
  • For the Faculties of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Arts, Law, or Management:
    Me. salima.djerroud [at] (Salima Djerroud), Immigration Advisor at (514) 398-8029