Western International

Research Award Recipient

All of the following criteria must be met in order to proceed . If all criteria are NOT met, or should you have any questions or concerns, please contact iesc-immig@uwo.ca

* If the VRO student is studying at the undergraduate level, you must ensure that the student has "a significant role to play or value to add, and not just be a member of a research team (doing data collection or principally involved in the more mundane aspects of the research being conducted)" as per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Guidelines.

** Should you be offering a department research award to the student, please consider the source of funds (e.g. NSERC, industry source, etc.) that will cover the department award, and whether financial support to a foreign visiting research student was included in the application for funding, or whether there are any restrictions on the use of research funds.

***A competitive assessment includes selection of a VRO candidate on the basis of having a complimentary research topic.

Exceptions to the 12- month Rule

Exceptions must be approved by Dr. Linda Miller, Vice-Provost (SGPS) unless Western University has entered into an agreement with an institution or funding organization abroad allowing research terms for 12+ months. Requests for exceptions will be forwarded to SGPS upon Western International's receipt of your documents. Please ensure that you provide reasons for why a 12+ month research term is required when you send your documents to Western International.

Steps for Inviting a VRO as a Research Award Recipient (Work Permit Status)

Step 1: Collect the documents required from the student

  • VRO (Research Only) Plan Form
    The student must complete and sign the VRO Plan Form, and return it to the host supervisor along with their home institution letter (please see page 1 of the form for the information needed in the home institution letter).
    VUGS (Research Only) Plan Form for Visiting Undergraduate Students (VUGS)
    VGS (Research Only) Plan Form for Visiting Graduate Student (VGS)
  • If the student is receiving award or scholarship funding from their home institution or government, the student should send proof of same with the home institution letter. If your students requires a letter of invitation to support their scholarship or award application, you may issue a letter from your department for this purpose. However, an invitation letter for visa purposes will also be required - please see Step 2.
  • A copy of the student’s passport

Step 2: Prepare the invitation letter to support a research award recipient for a work permit application

Template invitation letter for work permit

If your VRO student is the recipient of a Global Affairs award or scholarship (e.g. ELAP, CARICOM, QEII, etc.), please contact Western International for a template invitation letter that supports a study permit application.

Step 3: Have the Department Chair or Graduate Chair (as applicable) sign the VRO (Research Only) Plan Form that was provided by the student, AND the invitation letter

Step 4: Complete the VRO Fee Authorization Form

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) charges a $230.00 Employer Compliance Fee for submitting an Offer of Employment through the Employer Portal online. Western International will submit the Offer of Employment on your behalf and will charge the $230.00 fee to your Speed Code.

VRO Fee Authorization

Host supervisors may also pay the Registrar's $200.00 administration fee on behalf of the student using this form. However, supervisors are not permitted to use speed codes that draw from external funds (e.g. tri-council grants) for administrative fees. 

Step 5: Send your documents to Western International and wait for final instructions

Email ALL completed and signed documents to iesc-immig@uwo.ca

  • VUGS or VGS (Research Only) Plan Form signed by the student and the Department or Graduate Chair 
  • VRO student's home institution letter
  • Invitation letter, on department letterhead, dated and signed by the Department or Graduate Chair
  • Copy of the VRO student's passport
  • VRO Fee Authorization form
  • Explanation for requesting a VRO student for more than 12 months, if applicable

Step 6: Wait for confirmation of your assessment

Western International will review the application and advise if revisions are required.

If documents are ready to proceed, Western International will process fees in cooperation with the Office of the Registrar.  The Office of the Registrar will provide the student with a Visiting Research Student Registration Information form by email. You will be cc’d!

Western International will also submit the Offer of Employment to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on your behalf. When the Offer of Employment is confirmed by IRCC, you will receive final instructions to move on to Step 7 along with a copy of the $230.00 transaction receipt. The speed code journal entry will be posted in the weeks to follow.

Step 7: Provide documents and instructions to the VRO Student

Once you receive final instructions from Western International (including the $230.00 Transaction Receipt and the Work Permit Instructions as an attachment for your invitaiton letter) you may forward ONLY the invitation letter with work permit instructions (attachment), the $230 transaction receipt, and Offer of Employment # starting with the letter "A" to the VRO student. The student does not require the VRO (Research Only) Plan form or the VRO Fee Authorization form and the student  should not provide these documents with their work permit application. These forms are for internal use only. 

Step 8: VRO Student to apply for a Work Permit

Instructions on how to apply for the work permit are contained in the attachment for your invitation letter .

Students who have questions or concerns about the work permit process, or who are being directed to apply for a different kind of permit (visitor status or study permit) by a Visa Application Centre (VAC), should contact iesc-immig@uwo.ca for further advice before formally submitting their application.

If your VRO student is refused their work permit, please notify iesc-immig@uwo.ca 

If your VRO student does not arrive by the start date indicated in your invitation letter, please let Western International know as soon as possible so that records and UHIP fees can be adjusted.

Step 9: Prepare to welcome your VRO Student to campus

Visiting GRADUATE Students (VGS) will be term-activated upon arrival to campus. They must immediately present themselves in-person to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) to confirm their arrival and provide their work permit information.
Visiting UNDERGRADUATE Students (VUGS) will be term-activiated based on the anticipated arrival date. The Registrar's Office may contact the host supervisor about one month into the term to confirm that your VUGS has arrived. 
It is your responsibility to ensure that your VRO student receives proper orientation as well as health and safety training through OWL. 

Please also remind your VRO student to pay the administration fee, Western One ID Card fee, and UHIP fees through their Student Centre account within 30 days of arrival to campus. The Office of the Registrar emailed the VRO student their registration information including Western Student ID and pin code for Student Centre. The VRO student should pay their fees similar to the way tuition and ancillary fees are paid.

If the anticipated arrival date or end date changes, please notify Western International at iesc-immig@uwo.ca  immediately so that Records and UHIP fees can be adjusted accordingly. 

VRO students who are recipients of Global Affairs or department/faculty research awards will receive funding through their Student Centre account. Funding is credited to the account. Any fees and UHIP charges are deducted and the balance remaining, if any, will be issued to the student by cheque shortly after arrival in Canada.


If you are providing a faculty/department research award to your VRO student, funding transfers for same should be arranged at least two weeks prior to the VRO student’s arrival to campus.

For VUGS (research only visiting undergraduate students), please complete the Research Award Instruction form and forward it to iesc-immig@uwo.ca 

For VGS (research only visiting graduate students), please contact Erin Daley at SGPS to arrange for transfer of funds for the Research Award.



VRO students are welcome to access the services offered by the International and Exchange Student Centre (IESC) at Western International.