Foreign National Academics

All Foreign Nationals who accept a probationary and tenured appointment at Western University must possess a work permit issued by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before the start of employment. Western University cannot legally employ Foreign Nationals who do not possess a valid work permit.

Work Permit Application Process

  • The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Recruitment (OFRR) will initiate the process of obtaining a work permit for you to legally work in Canada

  • OFRR will submit an application to ESDC/Service Canada for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Upon a successful application to Service Canada, this LMIA will be sent to the Foreign National with further instructions on how to obtain a work permit. This LMIA is required by IRCC to issue the temporary work permit at either the port of entry or through an application made to the appropriate Canadian Consulate/Embassy or Visa Application Centre (VAC)

LMIAs are required for probationary and tenured academic positions and are not required for post-doctoral fellows, visiting professors, and other specialized circumstances.  Please contact OFRR to ensure that the immigration guidelines in your specific situation are properly satisfied.

The validity of the work permit will vary and it is dependent on a number of factors including the duration of the LMIA, validity of passport and length of job offer.

The cost of a work permit is $155.00 Canadian. 

Academic Physicians
  • Physicians who require licensure through the Canadian College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) will be required to apply for a work permit through the appropriate Canadian Consulate in order to facilitate the process of obtaining the medical exam required for the health care field
  • All physicians must have a medical completed by a Canadian Panel Physician
  • Once the medical results have been received by IRCC, a confirmation letter will be issued by the Consulate and application for the work permit may be made at the Canadian port of entry
  • Once you have your work permit, please provide a copy to your academic unit at your earliest convenience

Spouses/Partners and accompanying Children

Non-Canadian spouses/partners of Skilled Workers may qualify for an open work permit in Canada without the need of a LMIA from Service Canada. More information can be found at the IRCC website. 

The spouse/partner of the academic may apply for an "open" work permit that will allow him/her to work in a non-restricted occupation for any employer.  A privilege fee of $100.00 has been introduced by IRCC to offset administrative and compliance costs.

The work permit of the spouse/partner will be valid for the same period as the primary work permit holder's authorization to work in Canada (as long as it does not surpass the validity of the passport). Open work permits for Foreign Nationals who do not require a visitor visa for entry into Canada may be obtained at the port of entry at the same time as the primary applicant. If the open work permit was not issued at the point of entry with the Skilled Worker, an application may be submitted through the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta using an extended stay application

If applicable, visitor records and/or study permits for accompanying dependent children will be issued at the port of entry.  It is important for accompanying family members to have the appropriate immigration documentation for benefits coverage.

Social Insurance Number

Upon receipt of the work permit, all Foreign nationals must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) at the local Service Canada Office. This number must be provided to Human Resources for employment purposes and the validity of this SIN will be linked to the expiration of the work permit.