Immigration Responsibilities for new Academic Staff

Work permit

Immigration Services in the APO will provide a foreign national with documents and instructions to get a Work permit following receipt of the validated approvals from the Federal and Provincial Governments, or the Offer of Employment number from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

It is the foreign national’s responsibility to:

  1. Determine whether to apply for a Work permit online, by mail or in a Visa Application Center (VAC) in person.
  2. Read the questions carefully as the documents required are determined by the responses of the applicant. Any missing or incorrect information may cause delays.
  3. Review their Work permit to ensure its accuracy. Mistakes on the Work permit may cause delays in getting other important documents such as a Social Insurance Number and Medicare Card.

Visa-exempt foreign nationals may apply for a Work permit at a Port of Entry. A member of Immigration Services in APO can assess eligibility and to determine which of the following is required for the application:


Biometrics is now mandatory for all work permit applicants. U.S citizens are exempt from that requirement.


Open Work Permit for spouses and common-law partners

Spouses (including common-law partners) of non-Canadian academic staff 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.

A common law partnerships means that a couple have lived together for at least one year in a conjugal relationship. A common-law relationship exists from the day on which two individuals can provide evidence to support their cohabitation in a conjugal relationship.

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



The cost of the Work permit and/or the Open Work Permit is the responsibility of the applicant and not the Employer (McGill University). 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 CIC website for current fees.


Travel Authorization

Depending on the country of citizenship, a foreign national may require a Temporary Resident Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization to enter Canada. For visa requirements, visit CIC’s webpage.


Work Permit Renewal

A foreign national holding a valid work permit in Canada can submit an extension application from Canada. Renewing the work permit will in most cases require the same documents as the initial work permit.

(Please note that RAMQ and SIN must be renewed whenever a work permit is renewed)


Permanent Residency

Tenure-stream professorial and librarian staff on Work permits are strongly encouraged to obtain permanent resident status as soon as possible. The application process should be initiated upon arrival in Canada.immigration.apo [at] ( Immigration Services) in APO assists foreign nationals with their applications for Permanent Residency.