McMaster University

McMaster University

Immigration Procedures for New Foreign Academics

Foreign Academics are required to obtain a temporary work permit in order to be employed at McMaster.  The steps outlined below provide details on obtaining a temporary work permit and Social Insurance Number (SIN), and also provide information on what is expected after arrival at McMaster:

Before Arrival -

After Arrival -


Applying for a Temporary Work Permit

New faculty members should take the time to review and understand the immigration process detailed below as well as the information listed in Things to Know Before You Arrive.

1. The Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) normally submits an application for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to Service Canada (SC), however in certain cases (see below), it may be possible to obtain a pre-approval from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for an exemption to the LMIA requirement.  Note that SC and CIC processing times vary and Faculties are encouraged to submit the necessary documents to the Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) as early as possible in order to avoid delays in the new faculty member's start date. 

2.  Exemptions to the LMO requirement are as follows:

  • NAFTA Exemption:

Citizens of the United States and Mexico can apply to enter Canada under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) Exemption -CIC Website which allows business professionals, intracompany transferees, investors and "traders" to qualify for a temporary work permit without obtaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment(LMIA) from Service Canada. Under NAFTA, professionals seeking to work temporarily in Canada can now receive work permits for up to three years.

  • CCFTA and related Exemption:

Similar to the NAFTA agreement, citizens of Chile can apply for a temporary work permit to enter Canada under the Canada Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) without obtaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assesment(LMIA). Increasingly, Canada is negotiating bilaterial and multilateral free trade agreements ("FTAs")that have mobility (temporary entry) provisions. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has information on all FTAs. Both signed and still being negotiated.

  • Canada Research Chairs (CRC):

The Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) can apply for a pre-approval of an exemption for a Labour Market Impace Assesment from CIC for Award Recipients.  The necessary documentation from the Faculty along with the confirmation of the CRC award must be forwarded to the Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) who will apply to CIC for pre-approval for a Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.  Nominees for a CRC who are coming to McMaster prior to obtaining confirmation of a CRC must undergo the Labour Market Impact Assessment process.  General information on CRCs can be found on the Canada Research Chair website.

If the application is successful, the Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) will receive a positive LMIA from Service Canada or a pre-approval for LMIA exemption from CIC.  The Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) will email the LMIA or pre-approval to the new faculty member as soon as it is received.

NOTE:  New foreign academics are advised not to confirm travel or moving arrangements to enter Canada until they have received the positive Labour Market Imapct Assessment and have obtained approval for the issuance of a temporary work permit, including having applied for a visa if from a country, requiring visas (see below).

3.  As soon as the new foreign academic has received the LMIA or the pre-approval for LMIA exemption, he/she must apply for a temporary work permit from the nearest Canadian Immigration Office.   Information about applying for a temporary work permit, where to apply, and the application form can be found on the Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) website.   The temporary work permit currently costs $150 CDN and depending on the immigration office, it may take several days or several weeks to process the application. New foreign academics are advised to review the website of their local Canadian Immigration Office to ascertain processing times and required documentation. 

In addition to a temporary work permit, citizens of some countries & territories will also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).  If a TRV is required, it is not necessary to make a separate application; the immigration officer will issue the TRV at the same time as the approval for a work permit.  A list of countries and territories whose citizens need a TRV can be found on the CIC website. Please ensure that you notify CIC at the time of application to ensure that, if eligible, a multiple entry visa is obtained, which will allow you to travel in and out of Canada. For more information on working in Canada, please refer to Working Temporarily in Canada

If the work permit is approved, the Canadian Immigration Office will issue a letter approving its issuance (the work permit is actually issued at the Canadian port of entry – see next step).  The new faculty member can now finalize their travel and moving arrangements.

4.  At the Canadian port of entry, the immigration officer issues the work permit, which allows the new faculty member to work at McMaster on a temporary basis. Upon entry into Canada, the new faculty member should have the following documents ready for the immigration official to assist the immigration officer in issuing the temporary work permit:

a)  The letter of approval from the Canadian Immigration Office (if applicable)

b)  A copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (Note: CRC’s must provide a copy of the CRC confirmation letter)

c)  Offer letter from McMaster University

d)  Passport(s)

e)  Temporary resident visa(s) (if applicable)

f)   Travel documents (i.e. airline tickets)

g)  Marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union (if requesting a spousal work permit)

h)  Children’s birth certificates (if applicable)

5.  A temporary work permit will normally be issued for the duration of the Labour Market Impact Assessment, to a maximum of 3 years.  However, there are other factors, such as passport expiry date and date of the job offer, which the immigration officer will take into consideration when issuing a work permit.  If applicable, a spousal work permit and visitor records for accompanying dependent children will be issued at the same time.

Note: Send all documents and correspondence by a means you are able to track and ALWAYS keep a copy.


If you require further assistance, please contact Barb Eftekhari, (barb@mcmaster.ca), Manager, Faculty Appointments & Records, Office of the Provost, ext. 23065 or Jen Caruk, (carukj@mcmaster.ca), Coordinator, Academic Appointments and Records, Office of the Provost, ext. 24665.

Faculty of Health Sciences faculty contacts are Rebecca Collier, (rcollie@mcmaster.ca), Faculty Secretary, Health Sciences, ext. 22175 or Deborah Miller, (dmiller@mcmaster.ca), Faculty Relations, Health Sciences, ext. 24063.


Last Update: April 14, 2014

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