Visiting International Student Researchers (VISRs) are students from other international institutions who come to UM in order to conduct research, at the invitation of a faculty member. These visitors do not take any courses at UM, are not admitted to UM, but rather conduct research that usually fulfills degree program requirements at their home university. VISRs may be paid by scholarship programs available through their home country government or the Canadian government. 

Those interested in Postdoctoral fellowships should visit the UM Postdoctoral Fellowships page to learn more. For all other Visiting International Student Researchers (VISRs), please refer to the information below. 

How to invite a VISR

If you would like to invite a Visiting Student Researcher, follow these steps to help them acquire a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption work permit.

Please begin this process early. Processing time is a minimum of three weeks for the LMIA exemption. Work permit processing times will vary, but can take several months.

VISRs and/or Faculty members that invite VISRs are responsible for seeking professional advice on visas and permits. Only Registered Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are permitted to provide immigration advice in Canada. Therefore, faculty should not be providing immigration-related advice. 

If the visiting student has received a formal academic research award in their own name

In order to facilitate an LMIA exemption, please compile the following documents and email them to the Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant in HR (contact details are available on our Intranet site).

After the Immigration Consultant has received these documents, she will send you the LMIA number.  

Provide the student with this LMIA exemption number, as they will need it to apply for their work permit. Instruct the student to complete a Release and Indemnification form (.doc) and submit it to you before coming to campus. Store this waiver according to your department’s policy.


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, biometric tests (most cases) and work permit, and must pay any applicable fees.

If the visiting student does not hold a formal academic research award in their own name

There are no current LMIA exemptions for students enrolled in courses outside of Canada if they do not have a formal research award or internship in their own name. An LMIA exemption is needed if you want the visiting student to work on campus (paid or unpaid). Please note that a stipend paid by the principal investigator at the visiting student’s home institution does not qualify as a formal research award.

However, in some cases a student may come for a limited period of time under certain conditions. For example:

  • Visiting students who are self-funded or funded by their home institution may be eligible to work entirely on their own research in Canada for up to six months (not working on the UM host’s project).
  • Visiting students from some countries can often get “open” work permits through the International Experience Canada program.
  • Some other open work permit holders can work in Canada, depending on their circumstances.
  • The Canadian Global Skills Strategy may allow work permit exemptions to researchers who are coming to the University for up to 120 days in any year.

Any host who would like to bring a student registered outside of Canada to UM should submit a Foreign Visitor Category Assessment (pdf) form to the UM Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant, who will analyze the submission and identify whether the visitor can come to Canada (contact details are available on our Intranet site).

You will receive an email response within ten working days, which will include any conditions that may apply for the duration of the proposed visit. We will also provide you with any attachments or links you will need to create a formal and accurate invitation letter, as well as steps the visiting student will need to take before arriving in Canada.

Instruct the student to complete a Release and Indemnification form (.doc) and submit it to you before coming to campus. Store this waiver according to your department’s policy.

Next steps

Regardless of immigration status, all VISRs must register with the Research and International Agreements Team by emailing with their letter of invitation and work permit attached. VISRs will be asked to complete an online registry.

Visiting researchers are not considered UM students, so the Research and International Agreements Team will help them to access a sponsored computer account, a library card, access to online resources, information about living in Winnipeg, and other arrival supports. VISRs are also encouraged to access general information on the International Centre's website.

The hosting department must keep a copy of all paperwork for six years, as required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as the University can be audited for compliance.

Contact us

Research and International Agreements
414 Admin Building
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada