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How to Invite an Academic Visitor

Academic visitors are either faculty members or students from other institutions whom Concordia faculty members have invited to campus to conduct collaborative research. In some cases, they may also come from other organizations, but they should be attached to other higher education institutions.

Immigration status of the Academic Visitor:

  • If your visitor is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident no immigration process is required;
  • If your visitor already holds a Work Permit allowing her or him to conduct research in Canada for the time period specified, then please ensure that the Work Permit does not restrict your visitor to a particular educational institution. Please forward the copy of such work permit to our Immigration Specialist: Cristiana Voiculescu.
  • If your visitor is a foreign national, Concordia University must provide them with certain documents facilitating their application to enter Canada either as a visitor or apply for a work permit.

According to the duration of the research work to be conducted in Canada, there are 2 main types of immigration applications that may allow entry and work as a researcher:

  1. Research for a duration of 120 days or less may be eligible for a work permit exemption if the criteria set out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada are met. For more information, please visit;
  2. If the duration of the visitor’s research in Canada is more than 120 days or if the research does not meet the criteria listed above, a work permit is generally required. 

In accordance with the Policy on Academic Visitors (VPRGS-10), Concordia faculty members who wish to invite Academic Visitors to campus are required to complete the following the steps.

For all academic visitors:

  • In conjunction with the academic visitor, establish a collaborative research project and the dates for it to be conducted under your supervision at Concordia.
  • Have the person you are inviting provide you with personal information needed to complete the Academic Visitor Request Form Section 1 and provide copies of her or his documents as listed in the same form (curriculum vitae, photocopy of passport information page showing name and date of birth, any Canadian immigration document, either valid or expired and letter from home institution confirming affiliation).
  • Fill out the Academic Visitor Request Form; sign it, have your department chair sign it, and submit it to the following person in your Faculty for approval from your corresponding Associate Dean, Research:
  • Once signed, this person will forward to the Immigration Specialist, Cristiana Voiculescu.
  • If your visitor is international and requires a Work Permit to enter Canada for this activity, our Immigration Specialist will complete the online employer portal. Once the portal is completed, you will be contacted to confirm the information is correct and to provide your credit card information for the payment of the employer compliance fee. It is important to note that you (Concordia) must pay the employer compliance fee. This cannot be charged to the candidate.
  • Once the employer portal is completed and the offer number is generated, our Immigration Specialist will send the Official Letter of Invitation and required documentation to the applicant.
  • Very important: Please make sure you start the process as soon as possible, ideally 6 months before the estimated travel date. Indeed, Concordia needs a few days to process the application and then the candidate may need several months to get the required work permit or visa to travel to Canada. Processing times across visa offices vary greatly over time (from a few days to more than 6 months).

IRCC Requirements

Please be advised that the criteria set out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are subject to change without notice.
Be advised:
  • Recent changes to immigration regulations have resulted in a high number of applicants being denied temporary work permits or IRCC requesting Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) to support claims for exemptions and demonstrate the person is having no negative impact on the Canadian labour market. Concordia will not apply for Labour Market Impact Assessments for academic visitors.
  • International academic visitors must be able to meet the requirements for either a Temporary Work Permit exempt from an LMIA and a Quebec Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ) or for a Work Permit Exemption. If your visitor does not meet these requirements, then you cannot invite them to Concordia as an academic visitor.
  • When a Work Permit is issued, such work permits can be audited for a period of up to 6 years after issuance. For this reason, you have to make sure that the candidate’s duties, stipend, number of worked hours per week, etc. are the same as those indicated in the employer portal (you will always review the portal before submission).
  • Canadian law stipulates and Concordia's Office of the General Counsel has advised that only Quebec lawyers and certified immigration consultants can provide advice on immigration.  Should you or your visitor have any immigration questions, we have been advised that you should contact our Immigration Specialist, Cristiana Voiculescu, Lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Bar.
  • If the person whom you are inviting is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or does not hold a valid open Canadian work permit, then s/he may require a temporary work permit that qualifies for an exemption from a LMIA.  Even though the person is not applying to become a Concordia employee and is not being paid, a temporary work permit may still be required per IRCC.  Those who arrive in Canada without a work permit could be refused entry and returned home.    
  • If you decide to pay the researcher, please make sure this decision is made BEFORE the Academic Visitor Request Form is submitted. In fact, all issued work permits can be audited for a period of 6 years after issuance. Concordia University has to demonstrate that the amount of stipend declared is the amount actually paid to the researcher. Any amount either lower or higher is not compliant. Any subsequent decision to pay the researcher extra or less puts Concordia at jeopardy.
  • For information regarding Temporary Foreign Workers’ rights, please visit: . Please consult the pdf version here
  • Please make sure the visitor provides you with proof of private insurance covering the duration of their stay as soon as they arrive. This must be kept for a period of 6 years after their arrival.


Additional Resources:

Information Sessions: Inviting Foreign Academic Visitors

Information sessions are available on a regular basis. The purpose of these presentations is to provide Faculty members with a comprehensive overview of applicable immigration rules, processes, and required documents when inviting a foreign academic visitor as well as with the compliance obligations after they arrive. These presentations will also provide a better understanding of Concordia University’s general responsibilities when receiving foreign visitors.

IRCC information on Labour Market Impact Assessments:

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada National Occupation Classification codes:

Contact us

Cristiana Voiculescu
Immigration Specialist

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