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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

LMIA and Foreign Academics

LMIA and Foreign Academics

Hiring a Foreign Academic with LMIA

Are you interested in hiring a foreign academic? Seeking to improve that quality of your post-secondary educational institution? Foreign academics can be valuable to learning institutions, as the best teacher is one that has the most experience in the field. However, there is also a process whenever hiring someone from overseas. In this case, you may need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to facilitate bringing this intellectual individual to Canada.

In what situation can I hire a Foreign Academic?

Before starting the application process, it is important to ensure that the person you intend to hire fully matches the Canadian definition of a foreign academic. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, an academic (foreign or otherwise) is generally classified as someone with at least one postgraduate degree, a Bachelor’s degree, and must generate most of their income from teaching or conducting research in Canada. This individual must have a career under the NOC 4121. There are special criteria that applies when hiring a foreign academic, which have been set by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) as well as Service Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). These criteria have been reviewed and accepted/collaborated with universities or other degree-granting colleges. If you work at a community college, the regular ESDC process is required to hire foreign workers. In Quebec, you will also need to consider the requirements of CEGEP.When going through the process to hire a foreign academic, you will likely need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment, more commonly abbreviated as LMIA. However, there are situations where there may be an exception.

In what situation would I be Exempt from obtaining an LMIA?

Before proceeding to apply without an LMIA, it is imperative that you confirm you actually do not need one. There are only certain circumstances in which an LMIA is not necessary, which IRCC has stated. If you fall under one these circumstances, you may also not require a work permit. For example, academic consultants and examiners, graduate assistants, and self-funded researchers would not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment, nor would they require a work permit. Instead, they can just apply as a visitor to an IRCC visa office. US Citizens or citizens of St.Pierre et Miquelon and Greenland also have the option to apply directly at a Canadian Port of Entry, without obtaining a work permit or LMIA.

In contrast, there are also specific careers in which you may need a work permit but not an LMIA. These include post-doctoral fellows, visiting professors, research award recipients, guest lecturers, and more (visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website for more specific details). These individuals may also enter Canada by the same means as those who do not require an LMIA (visitor to IRCC visa office or port of entry for certain citizens).

Though these are the two main ways in which an individual may not require an LMIA, an alternate option is the Canada Research Chairs Program. This program allows 2000 Chair positions for both Canadian and foreign academics, in an attempt to give Canada a more competitive international presence. Through this program, you can either apply for a seven-year renewable Chair position (if you are considered a world leader in your field) or a five-year renewable Chair position (if you are considered an individual with potential to lead in your field). However, there are more specific requirements for the Canada Research Chairs Program, so ensure that you visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website to ensure you properly qualify.

How do I know if I may hire a foreign academic?

Before hiring a foreign academic, you will need to demonstrate that you attempted to provide these opportunities for a qualified Canadian. This is an important component of your LMIA application. In order to prove this, you may demonstrate that you have done the following:

  • Tried to fill the position with a Canadian by advertising it within Canada

  • Even when advertising the position abroad, it was still advertised within Canada

  • The position was advertised within Canada for an adequate amount of time (generally a month) such that there is ample opportunity for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to view and respond to it

  • Prove what advertising method you used, whether it be web, print, or electronic

  • Demonstrate the method you used is considered to be a reasonably effect method of advertisements

  • Clearly state in the advertisement that your loyalty lies with Canada by stating: “All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority”

  • Meet conditions of applicable collective agreements

The point behind this all is to prove that you have put in as much effort as reasonably expected before turning to foreign workers. If you have turned to a foreign academic, you may need to fill out certain forms such as the Foreign Academic Recruitment Summary that discuss the hiring decision of your institution. Furthermore, you may also need to fill yearly reports on your recruitment practices and the results.

How do I apply for a LMIA?

Once you know that you will need to apply for an LMIA, you must fill out certain forms. This includes the LMIA Application Form, Schedule A – Appointment of a Third Party Representative form (if applicable) and the Foreign Academic Recruitment Summary form. All forms are made publicly available on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website; ensure that you are using the most recent documents, as they are constantly updated. You may also want to ensure that you are writing legibly or typing, as well as not leaving any responses blank as this may hinder the application process for you. After completing the forms, you will need to send them to the Service Canada Centre in your area by mail.

Contact Akrami & Associates for help with LMIA and Foreign Academics

Though it is theoretically possible to complete the application by yourself, your chances will be greatly increased by choosing a representative. Contact Akrami and Associates for any assistance you may need. Our reliable and experienced team of immigration professionals will be able to advise you on how to move forward with your application.

With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!!

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