Many international students that are currently enrolled as students at universities outside of Canada come to the University of Manitoba to carry out their research work temporarily. This is usually an integral part of their graduate study in their home country. These students do not enrol as students at the U of M, but they need the correct immigration paperwork to come here. It is important that our faculty supervisors/host departments follow the correct procedures to be compliant with immigration law and regulations in Canada – an informal invitation letter is not sufficient.
Students who come to the U of M to perform research (paid or unpaid) while not enrolled as students are seen as performing work under the definition accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which means they will need to apply for a work permit if they wish to come to Canada and obtain temporary worker status. The following are some categories though which visiting research students may apply for worker status in Canada.
Research Award Recipients – May be entitled to an exemption from a Labour Market Impact Assessment
Potential visiting student researchers should communicate directly with their future faculty supervisor/host at the U of M and must be in receipt of a formal research award in their own name based on academic merit and obtained through a competition such as a government-sponsored award. This conversation should happen at least four months ahead of the proposed visit so that immigration documents can be obtained in time. Once the visit is agreed, the faculty supervisor/host department will obtain a copy of the research award and complete a Foreign Visitor Category Assessment form found here. Details given by the faculty supervisor/host department on the Foreign Visitor Category Assessment must be accurate, especially the passport details, as these are verified by the immigration officer when the visiting student arrives in Canada. The faculty supervisor/host department will then send the Foreign Visitor Category Assessment and a scan of the research award to the U of M’s immigration consultant for analysis and processing: firstname.lastname@example.org. The faculty supervisor/host department must pay a $230 ‘Employer Compliance Fee’ for the LMIA-exemption. The visiting student is responsible for applying for their travel documents, submitting biometrics (most cases) and work permit and pay any applicable fees.
Please note: Students abroad who are being funded to come to Canada by their home university or supervisor do not qualify as Research Award Recipients. There are no LMIA-exemptions codes that will allow a work permit for visitors with this source of funding.
International Experience Canada (IEC) – may get a work permit in their own right
Some students who want to visit Canada to do part of their research (paid or unpaid), but do not have a formal research award, may be able to obtain a co-op work permit or working holiday ‘open’ work permit through the International Experience Canada program. Only certain countries are participating in this work permit stream and each country has a limited pool of available spaces that may open and close during the calendar year. The student is responsible for applying to the scheme and obtaining their own travel documents and work permit. More details can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec.html
Visiting Students who do not have a research award, nor access to the IEC (above)
Faculty supervisors/host departments that are interested in hosting a visiting student may still complete a Foreign Visitor Category Assessment form and send it by email to email@example.com. However, there may not be an immigration stream that fits the faculty's request to bring the visiting student researcher to Canada for the requested length of time.
International students who are currently or soon will be enrolled at the U of M may contact the International Centre via this link: http://umanitoba.ca/research/international_centre/contact.html