Immigration Guidelines for Postdoctoral Scholars | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Immigration Guidelines for Postdoctoral Scholars

This is intended to be used as a general guide for International Postdoctoral Scholars (PDS) who are immigrating to study at the University of Guelph. It outlines the most common pre-arrival process and questions concerning PDS who are not in Canada yet.


Disclaimer: The information on this page is valid as of the date it was gathered (7/10/2023) and should NOT be considered legal advice. Immigration processes are constantly changing and the information on this page may become outdated over time.


Pre-Arrival Steps


  • Postdoctoral Scholar (PDS) is offered their position. They should receive a letter of offer/ formal appointment from a recognized department/school/institute of the University.
  • HR or employers submit the offer of employment form and related employer compliance fee via Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s (IIRC) employer portal.
  • The offer letter and payment must be submitted to the employer portal before the work permit application is submitted – the offer of employment number assigned to the PDS after submission completion must be included in the work permit application.

  • PDS applies for temporary work permit/ resident visa (TRV) & all other IIRC documentation.
    • Letter of approval (if applicable) is issued by the Canadian immigration office when the temporary work permit is approved.
  • PDS collects necessary documents to receive work permit and enter Canada:
    • Letter of approval/port of entry (POE) letter of introduction from Canadian Immigration Office (if applicable).
      • May receive this from the IIRC after you have been approved for your work permit.
    • Temporary resident visa (TRV) (if applicable).
      • If TRV is required, the IIRC will issue it at the same time as the approval for work permit.
    • Biometric data requirements (if applicable).
    • Letter of invitation/offer from the University.
      • Received in step 1.
    • Completed employer compliance form.
      • Received in step 1.
    • Proof of PHD.
    • Passport(s).
    • Travel documents (i.e., airline tickets).
    • Marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union (for accompanying spouse/partner).
    • Child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) (if applicable).

  • PDS’s dependent children under 18 years old can apply to come to Canada as a:
    • Visitor:
    • Student:
    • If dependents are under 18, they do not need a study permit to attend school. Instead, they should be indicated as a dependent entering Canada with the PDS. 
    • Worker:

Do I need a Labour Market Impact Assessment?
  • PDS do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
Does my child need a study permit?
  • School-aged and dependent children (under 18) do not need study permits to attend school – they must be indicated as dependent on the parent’s work permit.
  • Individual school board’s requirements for documents must be provided before enrollment.
How long will my work permit application take to process? If someone was previously an international student at a Canadian University, but wants to work in Canada after graduating, do they still need a work permit?
  • If you have not been granted permanent residency status, you must apply for a work permit even if the student permit is still valid
  • Work permits typically require you to have completed all your degree requirements – transcript works after graduation
Can someone start working before their work permit's effective date?
  • The date on the work permit is the official day you start working.
How do I renew a temporary work permit?    
  • Apply to renew permit when the appointment will continue beyond the expiry of your temporary work permit
  • Application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the expiry of current work permit
  • OGPS (not the department or faculty members) submit the offer of employment form and employer compliance fee through employer portal
  • PDS needs to complete work permit extension request.
  • Submits extension request with other required documents (document checklist in PDS below) to IIRC.
  • PDS must pay IIRC processing fee and submit the application early enough before expiration of current work permit that it is received around/before the expiry date.
  • When the work permit is renewed, PDS applies to renew SIN.
  • PDS passes updated work permit/ SIN to HR of school
    • If confirmation doesn’t arrive before the work permit expires, the IIRC fee receipt can be forwarded to HR and serve as “implied status” in the interim.


If you read this document and still have unanswered questions, please reach out to Manager, International Experience.


LMIA Exemption & CIC Offer of Employment Process (Department & OGPS)


  1. Department will submit the OGPS LMIA Exemption Form
  2. OGPS will process the LMIA Exemption "Offer of Employment" for incoming/extending PDS vis the CIC Employer Portal, including the $230 compliance fee (which will be charged back to the department coding provided)
  3. OGPS will provide the department with Offer of Employment Number & Proof of Payment 
  4. PDS will use this information when applying for a Work Permit, note that the Offer of Employment Number is separate from the Employment Offer Letter, received from the department after your PDS contract is approved

Note: The Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies will process offers for incoming/extending postdocs only. All requests to submit offers for incoming visiting student researchers should be directed to human resources.