Hiring Foreign Postdoctoral Scholars


The recruitment process of international Postdoctoral Scholars is administrated by the Postdoctoral Office, while HR Immigration Services facilitates the immigration processes. For detailed instructions on hiring and recruitment steps, other than the immigration process, refer to the Postdoc Office website.  

An international Postdoctoral Scholar who will be paid externally (not through the University of Calgary), may be invited as a Guest Postdoctoral Scholar. Please contact the Postdoctoral Office first for eligibility verification. If eligible, a sample letter will be provided by the Postdoctoral Office to the Hiring Manager (PI) to draft an invitation. After reviewing by HR Immigration Services, the Letter of Invitation will be delivered by the Hiring Manager (PI) to the Guest Postdoctoral Scholar.

Once your international Postdoctoral Scholar (or Guest Postdoctoral Scholar) accepts the Letter of Offer, the HR Postdoc Coordinator (or the Postdoctoral Office) will send a request to HR Immigration Services to initiate the immigration process. 


General Hiring Rules

  1. International Postdoctoral Scholars, including Guest Postdoctoral Scholars, are required to obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order to work in Canada

  2. Postdoctoral Scholars are exempt from the requirement of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), based on Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation R205 (c)(ii), Exemption Code C44

  3. A work permit application can be made through the IRCC on-line application system, at a Canadian visa post, or at a port of entry (if eligible)

  4. All international Postdoctoral Scholars seeking to enter Canada must not be inadmissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).


Before Applying for a Work Permit

Effective, Feb. 21, 2015, changes to IRCC's International Mobility Program came into effect. Employers hiring foreign nationals who may obtain an LMIA-exempt employer-specific work permit are required to pay an Employer Compliance Fee of $230 and submit an Offer of Employment form directly to IRCC prior to the foreign national submitting a work permit application to IRCC. This applies for the initial work permit and any subsequent work permits obtained under an LMIA exemption.

Note, these requirements are applicable to all international Postdoctoral Scholars (including Guest Postdocs). Although no stipend will be paid by the University of Calgary, an International Guest Postdoc is still required to apply for a work permit.

HR Immigration Services has established a centralized process to meet these requirements. Upon receipt of the appointment documentation from the Postdoctoral Office, Immigration Services will pay the compliance fee on behalf of the Principal Investigator (PI), submit an Offer of Employment form to IRCC through the Employer Portal, and provide an Offer of Employment ID Number to the Postdoctoral Scholar. Upon receipt of the ID Number, the Postdoctoral Scholar may submit a work permit application to IRCC.


Work Permit Application

Work permit applications could be submitted through the IRCC online application systems, at a Canadian visa post, or at a Canadian port-of-entry (if eligible).

Processing times of work permit applications vary among regions and visa postsin average it takes between three to six months to obtain a work permit from outside Canada.


Upon the arrival of an international Postdoctoral Scholar, collect a copy of the work permit and send to hrimmigration@ucalgary.ca or hrpstdoc@ucalgary.ca

Work permits will be verified by HR Immigration Services before completion of the hire.

International Postdoctoral Scholars are required to apply to Service Canada for a Social Insurance Number(SIN). They will be receiving a system-generated e-mail from DoNotReply@ucalgary.ca that will include a secure link to provide their Social Insurance Number (SIN). They will need to input the SIN, expiry date, and upload a copy of the "Confirmation of SIN" letter from Service Canada.

If your Postdoctoral Scholar's appointment will be extended beyond the expiry date of his/her initial work permit, an application to extend the work permit must be initiated through IRCC. Contact the Postdoctoral Office for issuance of a Letter of Extension and preparation of required supporting documents.

The processing of a work permit extension application may take several months. Please ensure that the appointment extension process is initiated at least three to four months prior to the expiry date of your Postdoctoral Scholar's work permit.

Upon receipt of the renewed work permit, international Postdoctoral Scholars are required to apply to a Service Canada office to change the expiry date of their Social Insurance Number to coincide with the expiry date of their renewed work permit. Please collect a copy of the renewed work permit and extended and send to hrimmigration@ucalgary.ca. Post Doctoral Scholars must provide the new expiry date of their SIN and attached a scanned copy of their "Confirmation of SIN" letter from Service Canada by logging into the My UCalgary portal and navigating to: All about me>My Info>Social Insurance Number.

If your Postdoctoral Scholar has submitted a work permit extension application prior to the expiry date of his/her existing work permit, and the work permit expires before a decision is made by IRCC, he/she may continue to work under the terms and conditions of the original work permit as per the "implied status" provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation, R186 (u).

Implied status will be assessed and confirmed by an Immigration Consultant in HR Immigration Services. To determine implied status, Postdoctoral Scholars are required to provide documentary evidence of their work permit extension application to hrimmigration@ucalgary.ca.

Implied status applies only as long as the international Postdoctoral Scholar remains in Canada. Should they leave Canada while under implied status, the University must cease processing their salary payment.

Changes to the International Mobility Program came into effect on Feb. 21, 2015, which place new emphasis on employer compliance and enforcement. As a result, the Government is massively increasing the number and scope of inspections and employer compliance reviews, so that 1 in 4 employers of temporary foreign workers will be inspected each year. To be compliant, the University of Calgary must demonstrate that we have provided each foreign worker with employment is the same occupation as stated in the offer of employment and with wages and working conditions that are substantially the same as those in the offer of employment.

Therefore, the University is required to report to IRCC on any changes to the terms and conditions of international postdoctoral scholars' appointment, including:

  • Change in remuneration – salary increase/decrease and any lump sum payments
  • Change in working condition
  • Additional appointments, such as a Sessional appointment if teaching a credit course, which involves extra remuneration

Please ensure that you contact the HR Advisor responsible for your faculty, prior to the implementation of any changes to international postdoctoral scholars' appointment.

A regime of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) established in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act came into force on Dec. 1, 2015, designed to promote compliance with International Mobility Program requirements. Penalties may be imposed for a range of violations, including non-compliance with record-keeping requirements and failure to adhere to conditions laid out in offers of employment (including payment of certain wages, and failure to provide certain working conditions).

Where an employer fails to comply with multiple conditions or program requirements, each failure will be treated as a separate violation. As such, penalties under the AMP are cumulative, up to a maximum of 1 million. In addition to penalties, employers may also be barred from hiring foreign workers and have their violations published on a website.