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Before coming to Canada for exchange (University of Waterloo), I received the Mitacs summer research internship offer for the University of Windsor. When asked about visa requirements, they said that they would tell me later.

Thinking that I would need a work permit, I applied for a student visa for my exchange. Now, they say that I do not need a work permit as I can research in Canada for 120 days without the work permit. My study permit has a clause that, "This permit does not authorize the holder to engage into off campus employment in Canada." (Although institution name is not mentioned). I am not sure whether I can freely go and work at University of Windsor or not.

Do I need to tell immigration about this? If so, who do I contact?

I emailed IRCC, got no reply. I called them; a bot cuts me off every time. How and who do I contact that person?

My internship will end on 20th July and my Visa will expire on 30th July.

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  • If you can't contact IRCC in Canada, have you tried contacting the Canadian embassy of your country of habitual residency? Mar 24 at 10:33
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    Could you clarify your nationality and the status of your visa and student permit? Do you mean that your visa (small sticker in your passport) will expire on July 30 or is your student permit (separate large sheet) going to expire on July 30?
    – xngtng
    Mar 24 at 10:53
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    And when does your exchange program end and when does the internship start?
    – xngtng
    Mar 24 at 11:02

2 Answers 2

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The 120-day exemption for short-term researchers is a public policy exemption (not listed in the Regulations). Unlike statutory exemptions that may be self-executing, an explicit request needs to be made and an officer has to grant this public policy exemption at port of entry or a Canadian consulate abroad.

The intent of this exemption is to attract specialized foreign researchers for short periods of time. Therefore, only foreign nationals outside Canada are eligible for this exemption.

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption for 15, 30 or 120 consecutive days from the requirements of the Regulations identified below to a foreign national seeking to enter Canada if: ...

Additionally, if you receive a salary or stipend (or other financial compensation in exchange of work) from a Canadian source, you would need a Canadian social insurance number. If you do not already have one, the application requires a work permit or a visitor record authorizing employment, which you can only obtain at a port of entry.

Therefore, you need to leave Canada and re-enter before being able to benefit from the work permit exemption. Now, you may be able to satisfy this requirement by simply crossing the Ambassado Bridge at Windsor and turn back ("flagpoling"). But the planning and feasiblity of flagpoling in this case may depend on your nationality and the type and status of your visa and study permit.

A formal way to receive a non-binding assessment is for your employer to apply for an opinion (again it's non-binding!) of the International Mobility Workers Unit, but this requires a complete application package with a lot more details and the cooperation of your employer.

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  • I am Indian and my exchange ends on 27th April. Although, I can stay in Canada till 30th July. Also, I do not need to apply for another visa in that case right?
    – Srijan
    Mar 25 at 1:43
  • If you are sure that you can stay until July 30 (is it the expiration date on your student permit?), you should be able to flagpole without a new visa.
    – xngtng
    Mar 25 at 9:54
  • I do have to apply for an USA visa for that right?
    – Srijan
    Mar 26 at 10:29
  • @Srijan No, but without a U.S. visa and actually visiting the U.S., you will be formally denied entry to the U.S. even though this is not a finding of "fault". But you will have to declare that every time a visa or entry form inquires about if you have ever been denied entry to any country, which can create complications, although it is less likely to affect you negatively if you explain it well.
    – xngtng
    Mar 26 at 17:53
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I was on a student visa in Canada that incorrectly said I wasn't eligible to work. It was a real pain to fix, but I digress.

At one point I did just drive down to the border and walk in. I didn't have to exit Canada and re-enter in order to talk to someone (but as an American, this wouldn't have been a problem for me), there was just a lot on the other side.

They didn't help much, but I forget the details. If the border is close/convenient to you, it might be worth a shot.

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