SFU Faculty

Before an international academic may begin employment as an SFU faculty member, the University will need to assist them in obtaining a work permit so that they can legally work in Canada. 

To ensure that SFU is in compliance with Canadian immigration regulations and able to support the individual’s work permit application, the faculty recruitment process must follow the guidelines established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and SFU’s applicable policies and collective agreements.

Following are the steps required for hiring an international academic; for full details on SFU faculty recruitment requirements see the SFUFA and SFU Collective Agreement, Article 23: Continuing Academic Appointments and the appointments procedures in the appointments section of the Faculty Relations website.

Step 1 

Hiring department obtains approval for position and commences with advertising process according to appointments process (see Faculty Relations website).

Advertising Requirements:

  • Have Faculty Relations Advisors review the advertisements
  • Include in the advertisement this statement: "All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority;" 
  • Advertise for a minimum of two months before offering a position and continue advertising until a decision on the labour market impact assessment is made by ESDC.
  • Advertise in Universities Canada’s University Affairs and the CAUT Bulletin (print and/or online) in addition to other relevant publications;
  • Post advertisement on the VPA website until the immigration process is complete;
  • Circulate notices of the position to Canadian universities;
  • Advertise vacant positions in Canada;
  • Make sure position advertised abroad is also advertised simultaneously in Canada;
  • Meet all conditions of applicable collective agreements.
For Appointment Process see Faculty Relations website.

Step 2 

Faculty Relations: 

Faculty Relations will determine the appropriate immigration process and prepare the application paperwork.

There are two types of work permits; those that require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and those that are exempt from a LMIA. 

1) LMIA required:

When a LMIA is required the employer must submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada which demonstrates they are unable to find a qualified Canadian candidate and there is a need to hire a temporary foreign worker.  If the LMIA application is successful, the employer will receive a “positive LMIA” document which verifies the need to hire a temporary worker.

2) LMIA exempt:

In most cases an LMIA is required, however, some international academics may fall under the International Mobility Program and have an exemption from the LMIA.  Please contact Faculty Relations Advisor to determine whether an LMIA is required or if the position is LMIA exempt.  Faculty Relations will provide the LMIA number or Offer of Employment number, depending on the circumstances.

Step 3 

Prospective International Faculty Member applies for work permit.

Please follow the work permit guide below for more details. 

Step 4

International Faculty Member provides copies of work permit and SIN documents to Faculty Relations.
  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) required for employment in Canada. SIN can be obtained from a local Service Canada office with a proof of ID and valid work permit.
  • Download the PDF below to learn how to obtain a SIN:

Where can I apply for my work permit?

You may submit your work permit application to the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live.  For a list of visa offices outside Canada, please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/apply-where.asp. If you are already inside Canada with a valid work permit, or you or your spouse or common-law partner hold a valid study permit, you may apply for your work permit from inside Canada. 

How can I apply for my work permit?

You have two options for applying for a work permit:

  • Apply online
  1. Determine your eligibility and create a Personal Checklist Code by answering the questions in the Come to Canada wizard at http://www.cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/getting-started.asp
  2. Apply online at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/index.asp after creating a GCKey or Sign-in Partner login ID, and registering with MyCIC. Enter your Personal Checklist Code when prompted.  

Scan and upload all supporting documentation. Supporting documents should be current and original (unless it clearly states photocopies are acceptable). If your supporting documents are not in English or French, you must include a translation from a certified translator with your application. Refer to your online checklist for acceptable file formats.

  • Apply by mail
  1. Download the required forms from http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/5487ETOC.asp
  2. Submit your application to the Visa Office or Visa Application Centre (VAC) responsible for the country or region where you live.

What documents do I need to apply for my work permit either online or by mail?

The documents you need to apply for your work permit will vary depending on where you are residing when you apply for your work permit. You will be required to submit standard IRCC forms plus supporting documentation.

Application item Application submitted outside Canada  Application submitted in Canada Tips
Document Checklist (required for paper-based applications only)

Document Checklist

(IMM 5488)

Document Checklist

(IMM 5556)

Place this document on top of your application package
Application Form

Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada

(IMM 1295)

Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
  • Complete the application form electronically (not by hand) 
  • Include the Offer of Employment Number in the application form)
Family Information

Family Information

(IMM 5707 or IMM 5645)

  • Include all family members even if they are not accompanying you to Canada 
  • Include the Family Information form listed in the application package for your country
Passport or travel document Photocopy all relevant passport pages. Include all pages with photos, signatures, stamps and other  markings. Photocopy all relevant passport pages. Include all pages with photos, signatures, stamps and other  markings.

The work permit will not be issued for longer than the validity of  your passport

Photo Online applications require a digital photo. Paper applications may requires 2 photos meeting IRCC requirements. Online applications require a digital photo. Refer to the photo specifications in your checklist
Fee N/A N/A The current fee for a work permit is $155.

Required supporting documents may include:

  • Proof you meet the requirements of the job being offered (ex. proof of education, work reference letters)
  • Offer of employment letter from the SFU Department offering you the position including
    • Employment start and end date
    • Amount of remuneration
    • Location
    • Nature of the position
  • Employment reference letters from current or past employer(s)
  • Employment records
  • CV/resume outlining relevant education, qualifications and work experience
  • Proof of funds (if you research funding is from an external source, proof of that must be submitted with your application)

Please consult the website of the Canadian visa office serving the country or region where you live to determine if you are required to provide additional forms or documents.

When is a medical exam required for a work permit?

You will need a medical exam if you have lived temporarily for 6 or more consecutive months in a designated country in the one year immediately before the date you enter Canada.  For a list of designated countries, please see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/medical/dcl.asp

In some cases, there may be restrictions on the type of job you can hold unless you complete and pass an immigration medical exam prior to submitting an application for your work permit.  For a complete list of occupations requiring a medical exam, refer to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/medical/medexams-temp.asp#occupational

If a medical exam is required, you must make an appointment with a designated Panel Physician: http://www.cic.gc.ca/pp-md/pp-list.aspx

Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada?

If you hold a work permit, and are employed in a position listed at Skill Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification, your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit.  If this is the case, your spouse must include proof that you are employed in a skilled occupation in their work permit application. 

See http://cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/opinion/policy.asp or contact Faculty Relations for more information.


If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Arthurs at fr_immigration@sfu.ca OR Alina Roman at aroman@sfu.ca.