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Immigration Information for Non-Canadians

This section outlines the immigration process for non-Canadians coming to work in Canada: for those accepting permanent, contractually limited and visiting academic positions.

Working at York

Full-time academic appointments are either permanent or contractually limited appointments (CLA). In order to begin working at York, depending on your nationality, you will require some or all of the following:

  1. A valid passport that expires after the end of your visit to Canada
  2. A Labour Market Opinion
  3. A temporary work permit
  4. A temporary resident visa
  5. A medical examination.

Visas and permits are not the same thing. A visa allows a foreign national to come to Canada for a certain period; a permit allows a foreign national to do a particular activity once here e.g. study (study permit), or work (work permit). There may be exemptions to the requirements for a visa or permit. Temporary residents of Canada (visitors, workers and students), must not allow either their visas or permits to expire.

Labour Market Opinion (LMO)

Before a foreign national can be employed by York, our job offer must be `validated’ by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).This validation, also called a confirmation and is issued in the form of a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

Please note that if you are a citizen of the USA, Mexico or Chile, an LMO is not required for your contractually limited appointment as you are covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) respectively. These international agreements only apply to temporary/short term employment. Please note that citizens of Chile may need a visa, in addition to a work permit. To discover if you need a visa, please visit,

There are a few circumstances where an LMO is not required. Visiting academics do not usually require an LMO in order to obtain a work permit. An LMO is usually required for permanent or contractual positions offered to foreign nationals. Spouses/partners and dependants of temporary foreign workers do not usually require an LMO.

In order for the LMO to be issued, the University submits a file to HRSDC that provides details of the recruitment advertisement and search efforts, and demonstrates that there were no suitably qualified domestic applicants (Canadian citizens or permanent residents) to fill the position, so an offer can be made to a non-Canadian.

Once the LMO is issued, it is sent electronically to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and entered into their database. A copy of the LMO is also sent to York, and the University forwards a copy of the letter to the new employee, so the employee can apply for a work permit.

A positive or neutral 'Labour Market Opinion' provides the immigration officer with the authority to issue the work permit at the port of entry (e.g. border or airport).

When the time comes, the LMO is also required to successfully process the application for permanent residence. It is critical when applying for your work permit or for permanent residency that you include a copy of the LMO as well as the other documents required, such as the job offer letter from your prospective employer at York University.

Temporary Work Permit

Any foreign national coming to Canada to conduct activities considered work* e.g. professors, Visiting Professors, Research Associates, and Post Doctoral Fellows will need a temporary work permit commonly referred to simply as work permit. A work permit authorizes you to work in Canada; it is not an immigration document that allows entry to Canada, or the right to live in Canada. Your work permit will usually name the employer, job title and location at which you have been permitted to work (unless it is an open work permit).

Work Permit Types

There are two broad categories:

  1. Those that require a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).
  2. Those that are exempt from the need for an LMO.

Persons who come to Canada temporarily to hold the following positions do not usually require work permits issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC):

  • Academic Consultants
  • Academic Examiners
  • Public Speakers
  • Graduate, Teaching and Research Assistants, if full-time students working on the campus of the institution at which they are registered.

For full details of all persons this applies to, please visit for more information.

Persons who come to Canada temporarily to hold the following positions are required to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for work permits, but the institutions hiring them are exempt from applying to Service Canada for Labour Market Opinions to confirm their offers of employment:

  • Guest Lecturer
  • Post Doctoral Fellows
  • Visiting Professors
  • Research Award Recipients
  • American, Mexican and Chilean University Teachers.

For full details of all people this applies to, please visit for more information.

* Work - Canadian Immigration regulations define “work” as an activity for which remuneration is earned or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market. This means, you do not have to be paid, for your activity to be considered work.

Applying for a Work Permit

Depending on your nationality and the type of position you are applying for, there are different ways of applying for your work permit. Typically, you will apply at a visa office or consulate abroad prior to arriving in Canada; or you may be eligible to apply at a port of entry to Canada. Please contact the Immigration and Relocation Coordinator for more information.

New Faculty Members

You must apply for a temporary work permit in order to enter Canada legally to begin your new position at York University. Once you have received the Labour Market Opinion, you may proceed with your application for a work permit.

If you have been hired for a permanent position, you must secure permanent immigration status. In Canada, this is known as `Permanent Resident’ status or previously as `Landed Immigrant’ status.

Generally, new employees hired to permanent positions secure a work permit, enter the country, and become settled. If you have been hired for a permanent position, you must apply for permanent residence status as soon as possible, as the process can take years and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will not renew a work permit repeatedly. For temporary appointments, a work permit is sufficient.

Information on how to obtain a temporary work permit and other related information can be found on the CIC Web site at: For the application form, please visit

To assist you to complete your work permit application, the guide Applying for a Work Permit outside Canada can be accessed at

Please refer to to obtain a document check-list. Using this form will ensure that you have enclosed all necessary documentation for your work permit. Then attach the document checklist to your application.

The completed application must be submitted to the Consulate/Visa Processing Office serving your lawful place of residence, or in certain cases, you may apply at a port of entry (land border crossing or international airport) to Canada. Please note that the Consulate/Visa Processing Office may have specific application requirements in addition to those required by CIC. Please check with them to ensure you are aware of all requirements.

Temporary Resident Visa

Depending on your citizenship, if you plan to stay in Canada for a certain period of time, you may need a temporary resident visa.

Permanent Residence Status

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is frequently used in order to bring international professors to Canada to work, and is the program through which many new professors obtain their work permits. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program enables Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis, to fill immediate skills and labour shortages when Canadians and permanent residents are not available. Since this program is not intended for temporary positions, if you are a non-Canadian academic who has accepted a permanent tenure-stream position, you will need to apply for permanent residence status soon after your arrival to Canada, in order to retain your permanent job. Applying for permanent residence status is a lengthy process. The time frame from submission of application to the issue of `Permanent Resident’ status is significant. It currently takes an average of 15 months for an application to be processed. It may then take another 4-8 weeks for you to actually receive your permanent resident card. A delay in applying may require that you renew your work permit before its expiration. It is also to your advantage, if renewing a permit, to have an application for permanent residence on file at the appropriate immigration office. For current processing time frames please visit

Different application categories exist for those who which to apply for permanent resident status. The categories typically used by York’s academics is the Canadian Experience Class. For more information, please visit

Extension of Work Permits

You must renew your work permit before it expires in order to maintain your legal status to work and to remain on the University payroll system. Applications to extend work permits can be found at

Immigration Fees

A number of cost recovery and administrative fees are payable by applicants for processing applications of various types, and for certain citizenship and immigration procedures. All fees are subject to change without notice. In general, fees are payable at the time of application. Please check for current charges. For a refund of your eligible expenses (if applicable), please submit your receipts to your hiring department for processing.

Canadian Citizenship

Once you have legally resided in Canada for a minimum of three  years, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship. For details, please visit

Canada’s immigration laws and regulations are enforced, regardless of whether you know about them or not. It is your responsibility, not York University’s, to obtain and maintain your legal immigration status, and to obey immigration regulations while working in Canada. Please check your immigration documents to ensure that they are accurate and have not expired. Please note that some processes, e.g. applying for permanent residency, can be very lengthy (takes years rather than months to process). It is your responsibility to apply for or renew your documents before they expire.

For more information or for assistance, please contact the Immigration & Relocation Coordinator or e-mail