Selecting a Foreign Worker

Information about hiring a foreign worker. 

Foreign workers are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status and are required to have a valid work permit in order to work in Canada. A Canadian work permit is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The foreign worker must also have a valid SIN card which allows the foreign worker to be paid. UBC gives preference to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.  

Considerations Before Hiring a Foreign Worker

Before hiring a foreign worker candidate, consider the following:
  • How long is the permit valid for?
  • Even if your position is a term position, is it possible that it will be extended? 
  • How long has your candidate already had a Work Permit?
    • New Canadian regulations introduced in April 2011 limit the number of years that someone can be in Canada on a work permit to 4 years. At the end of 4 years they must either have become citizens or permanent residents or leave the country for 4 years before returning.  

The Work Permit must cover the entire time of the appointment i.e. the appointment cannot end later than the end date of the work permit. 

Employees on Work Permits may not be hired as on-going. If the position was posted as on-going, you may hire a foreign worker into a term appointment. Appointments may be extended if the Work Permit is extended. This is done via a Staff Appointment Form (SAF). 

Change in Status

If an employee attains Permanent Resident status or becomes a Canadian citizen and the position was originally posted as on-going, they may be moved to on-going status. This is done using a Staff Appointment Form (SAF) and choosing the option “term to on-going”.  

BC Provincial Nominee Program

Often employees or candidates will ask UBC to write a letter for them in support of them attaining Permanent Resident status known as the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). Assisting employees in this way is actually much more involved than it first appears. Essentially the candidate or employee is asking you to sponsor them in the process to become a permanent resident. For most positions this is not advisable. This process essentially ties the employee to UBC and can make the employment relationship complicated. For example, consider the situation when a very promising candidate ends up being a poor hire and you are working through the performance management process or even considering termination and yet this employee is still expecting assistance with their application.  

Labour Market Opinion

In the rare circumstance that recruitment has not identified a citizen or permanent resident candidate for a difficult to fill or highly specialized position, it may be possible to consider a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to assist a candidate to obtain a valid work permit. 

An example of a highly specialized position might be a research assistant who has experience working in a particular type of lab but would likely not include CUPE 2950 positions or most M&P positions (although it may be appropriate for some higher level M&P positions).  

The LMO process is lengthy and time consuming and there is no guarantee that it will be successful. The process includes, but is not limited to:

  • Advertising nationally for the position
  • Providing detailed information for each unsuccessful citizen or permanent resident candidate as to why they did not meet the requirements
  • Obtaining a successful LMO (Labour Market Opinion)
    • This can be challenging and responses can change depending on the economic climate. An LMO that was successful last year may not be this year for the same position due to economic considerations. 

This process generally takes 4-6 months and is not always successful which can mean starting over in the hiring process. 

Please call your department’s HR representative or HR Associate before committing to an LMO or BC PNP application.