Research Excellence

Research Centers

Research Groups

Research Trainee Program

Procedures for prospective research trainee

Find out more about the enrolment process for research trainees at McGill:

Research trainees who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must meet the criteria for a work permit or for a work permit exemption. For a description of possible immigration categories for research trainees, please refer to the Immigration Guidelines for Foreign Nationals.

Both you and your host professor will need to fill out the PDF icon Request for Immigration Assessment and submit the requested documents to the department’s administrator.

Inviting a foreign research trainee

How much time in advance should I start the invitation process?

In most cases, you should contact your administrator 3 to 6 months before the expected date of arrival of the trainee. It takes time to verify the trainee’s eligibility, process their enrolment, issue the proper invitation letters, and for their work permit and/or visa application to be processed.

For trainees applying for a work permit in Nigeria, Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, you should contact your administrator 6 to 12 months before the expected date of arrival of your trainee.

You can contact your administrator earlier to verify whether the traineeship will be possible.

How can I know if a traineeship will be possible?

  • The trainee will need to meet the requirements to be enrolled as a research trainee.
  • The situation will need to correspond to either a work permit exemption or to an LMIA-exempt work permit. Some situations are more straightforward than others and some simply do not correspond to any exemption category.
  • There needs to be enough time for the immigration application to be processed.

Common straightforward situations for research trainees

The following is a brief summary of the most common, straightforward situations for research trainees in terms of immigration. There are other categories allowing a research trainee to come to Canada. In every case, please contact your administrator to verify eligibility before issuing an invitation.

No work permit required

  • Trainees who will do research for a period of up to 120 days. They must have a significant role to play or value to add to the project. This exemption can only be used once per year.

Work permit

  • Trainees from any country coming with their own academic research award
  • American, Mexican or Chilean citizens who hold a baccalaureate degree
  • Citizens from certain countries participating in the International Coop program through International Experience Canada. The trainee should verify beforehand that
    • they meet eligibility requirements (these criteria vary according to country of citizenship) AND
    • there are spots left in the program (there is a specific number of spots awarded yearly to each country – once those spots are taken, it will not be possible to come through that program)

What do I need to provide to my administrator?

Do I need to pay the 230$ Employer Compliance Fee?

Unless a work permit exemption applies, you are required to pay the Employer Compliance Fee.

Can the trainee reimburse me for the Employer Compliance Fee?

No, the fee must be paid by the employer.

I won’t be paying the trainee, is a work permit really necessary?

Most research trainees need a work permit, even if they do not receive any financial compensation from McGill University. While there are some situations where a work permit will not be needed, you administrator will first need to verify whether that is the case.

Visiting Researcher

This category includes research associates and visiting scholars.

Research associate

An individual is eligible to be a research associate if they have a Doctoral degree, are more than five years post-graduation, and are a Canadian citizen/permanent resident. This is an employment category and cannot be filled by a foreign applicant without prior posting of the position and preference to Canadian applicants

Visiting scholar

An individual is eligible to be a visiting scholar if (1) they have been practicing a profession and are taking leave to obtain practical training/experience in research under the supervision of a McGill professor(s), not leading to a degree or fulfilling a medical specialization requirement; or (2) they are employed at another institution, have prior research training and experience, and are coming to McGill to collaborate with a McGill professor on a research project.

These conditions do not meet the requirements for registration as a postdoctoral fellow as the individuals lack medical specialty or are more than five years post-degree/specialty certification.

These categories of employment are administered by the Academic Personnel Office. Prospective research associates and visiting scholars should apply through the McGill Department of their proposed supervisor and through the Academic Personnel Office.

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