+1(514) 937-9445 or Toll-free (Canada & US) +1 (888) 947-9445

Using foreign PhD as work experience

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Hello,

The discussion in this thread is very useful. I am currently a PhD candidate in China. The doctoral degree here is a little different from Europe. It is full time and consists of mostly research work with minimum course work. The candidates are paid a monthly stipend during the tenure of their PhD work. Other than this, I have been involved with an industrial project as part of my PhD research work for which I have been paid an additional amount (after tax deduction as it is other than my student stipend). I have couple of questions:

1. Can I use the whole tenure of my PhD studies as the experience for my FSWP application? (My PhD is still ongoing; I will graduate next year)

2. Can I use the full time work on the industrial project which has been related to my research but for which I have been paid additionally in my application?

Any help would be highly appreciated. Thank you everyone for this wonderful discussion.

1. Yes. As long as you can get a IRCC-styled reference letter from your HR/advisor to support your PhD employment status.

2. If it was during your PhD, I'm afraid not (I stand to be corrected on this though).
 
  • Like
Reactions: denoza

denoza

Newbie
May 18, 2018
8
1
1. Yes. As long as you can get a IRCC-styled reference letter from your HR/advisor to support your PhD employment status.

2. If it was during your PhD, I'm afraid not (I stand to be corrected on this though).
Thank you very much for your reply. Yes the project was carried out during the course of my PhD, but it was independently applied to. Although part of this work might appear in my dissertation. I would be glad if someone could confirm us on this. I plan to apply asap, in the case that this experience could be counted.

P.S. Could you please provide an example of this IRCC-styled reference letter? Thank you once again!
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Thank you very much for your reply. Yes the project was carried out during the course of my PhD, but it was independently applied to. Although part of this work might appear in my dissertation. I would be glad if someone could confirm us on this. I plan to apply asap, in the case that this experience could be counted.

P.S. Could you please provide an example of this IRCC-styled reference letter? Thank you once again!
I believe it all comes down to the terms and wordings of your PhD contract. If it is full time, then whatever you do during your PhD research counts towards your PhD experience. I'm sure you'd agree that it would be strange for you to be employed full-time on your PhD whilst working on the sides.

As to the reference letter, just make sure it contains the vital information stated on the IRCC website.
Here is an excerpt from the cic website:

The following documents are mandatory for each work experience declared:

  • a reference or experience letter from the employer, which
    • should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information [address, telephone number and email address], and the name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer at the company),
    • should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits; and
  • if the applicant is self-employed, articles of incorporation or other evidence of business ownership, evidence of self-employment income and documentation from third-party individuals indicating the service provided along with payment details (self-declared main duties or affidavits are not acceptable proof of self-employed work experience).
Here is the link:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/permanent-residence/express-entry/applications-received-on-after-january-1-2016-completeness-check.html

Good luck.

P.S: I believe a sample reference letter has been posted previously on this thread.
 

denoza

Newbie
May 18, 2018
8
1
I believe it all comes down to the terms and wordings of your PhD contract. If it is full time, then whatever you do during your PhD research counts towards your PhD experience. I'm sure you'd agree that it would be strange for you to be employed full-time on your PhD whilst working on the sides.

As to the reference letter, just make sure it contains the vital information stated on the IRCC website.
Here is an excerpt from the cic website:

The following documents are mandatory for each work experience declared:

  • a reference or experience letter from the employer, which
    • should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information [address, telephone number and email address], and the name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer at the company),
    • should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits; and
  • if the applicant is self-employed, articles of incorporation or other evidence of business ownership, evidence of self-employment income and documentation from third-party individuals indicating the service provided along with payment details (self-declared main duties or affidavits are not acceptable proof of self-employed work experience).
Here is the link:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/permanent-residence/express-entry/applications-received-on-after-january-1-2016-completeness-check.html

Good luck.

P.S: I believe a sample reference letter has been posted previously on this thread.
I agree it doesn't make sense to claim the points for both of these things, however there is one thing to consider. In China, the PhD is offered as a full time scholarship and students do not have to work as teaching assistants as part of their contracts. However, they do have to assist their supervisors in research related work, which would not necessarily be mentioned in the contract. My question is; in this situation can the PhD experience still be counted if supervisor provides a recommendation?

In the case that whole of the PhD can't be considered for the work experience as it is part of the scholarship program. Can the work done on this industrial project be counted?

Thank you very much for providing the useful links to the recommendation letter. I searched through this thread and found out the sample letter as well.
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
I agree it doesn't make sense to claim the points for both of these things, however there is one thing to consider. In China, the PhD is offered as a full time scholarship and students do not have to work as teaching assistants as part of their contracts. However, they do have to assist their supervisors in research related work, which would not necessarily be mentioned in the contract. My question is; in this situation can the PhD experience still be counted if supervisor provides a recommendation?

In the case that whole of the PhD can't be considered for the work experience as it is part of the scholarship program. Can the work done on this industrial project be counted?

Thank you very much for providing the useful links to the recommendation letter. I searched through this thread and found out the sample letter as well.
Yes, as long as the reference letter fulfils all the criteria highlighted above. I believe you should worry more about reference letter being tailored to the IRCC than technicalities regarding your contract. There have been some Indian PhD (similar to China PhD structure, I presume) who have successfully applied with well drafted letters.
 

maplenow

Star Member
Oct 10, 2017
185
149
Hi,

I'm also currently in the final months of my PhD programme. I applied using the EE programme and my documents are currently under review by GCMS. So, I'm not sure if this info really helps you.

Note:
You won't get point for your current status as a PhD since it hasn't been awarded yet.
During eAPR, your reference letter from the university must clearly state that you were employed (and paid) for more than 30 hours/per week.

Sorry I can't help more than this but I'll update when there is any change in my status
Hey, congrats. My application is being processed for PR. I am currently in Canada as a postdoc. How about you?
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Hey, congrats. My application is being processed for PR. I am currently in Canada as a postdoc. How about you?
Hey,

Thanks. I'm glad everything worked out for you and congratulations on your postdoctoral position.

I am interviewing for a couple of positions but I think I might put in a proposal for a postdoctoral fellowship funding as some of the positions I applied for are not really what I would like to do. Fingers crossed.

I hope you have settled in pretty well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: maplenow

sourav1

Member
Aug 16, 2018
16
0
I understand you were paid by scholarship.

Did you receive a monthly or bi-weekly paycheck?
Does your pay stub have an “employee id” or “employee number” on it?

If you answered yes to both of the questions above, then you were likely classified as an employee by your university. You can add additional certainty that you were an employee with terms like “regular” or “stipend” on your paystub. There is an important distinction between titles, too. For example, if you are a student, then your title might simply be PhD student or doctoral candidate. If you are an employee, then your title might be research assistant. If you were paid as a teaching assistant, that is qualifying work experience separate.

Just because you were paid a scholarship, does not mean you had a job. This is for good reason. Suppose I won a $1000 scholarship from an organization to study at a university. Just because the university paid the scholarship to me does not in any way imply that I was an employee of the university.

See the point?
Hi,
I have similar situation and my answers are yes for both of your questions. But in my pay slip it was mentioned that "Fellowship (NoTax, No WCB)". Will it create any problem?
 

Kt_med

Newbie
Sep 13, 2018
6
0
Hi,
I think I got most answers from the detailed thread above. Thanks for the details. I still have some questions

1. I started my PhD in India, then I got fellowship to complete the PhD in USA
For past 2 years, I have been working full time and have been receiving salary and benefits from the organization here in USA.
In my express entry profile, I just claimed work experience of 2 years and accidently I claimed that as an engineer but not as an Research assistant

Two questions
1. Can I change my NOC to research assistant 4012 after getting ITA ?
2. Is it okay, if I claim only 2 years of work experience here in USA and other prior PhD work experience as it would be a hassle to get paperwork and recommendation letter.
I havent mentioned about my PhD in my education as well.


Please advice

My responsibilities also match to that of an engineering researcher. That's why I chose that NOC.
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Hi,
I think I got most answers from the detailed thread above. Thanks for the details. I still have some questions

1. I started my PhD in India, then I got fellowship to complete the PhD in USA
For past 2 years, I have been working full time and have been receiving salary and benefits from the organization here in USA.
In my express entry profile, I just claimed work experience of 2 years and accidently I claimed that as an engineer but not as an Research assistant

Two questions
1. Can I change my NOC to research assistant 4012 after getting ITA ?
2. Is it okay, if I claim only 2 years of work experience here in USA and other prior PhD work experience as it would be a hassle to get paperwork and recommendation letter.
I havent mentioned about my PhD in my education as well.


Please advice

My responsibilities also match to that of an engineering researcher. That's why I chose that NOC.
1. Yes, you can change your NOC post ITA
2. As long as claiming 2 years will not drop your CRS score below the invitation round then you are good.

If the degree has not been conferred yet then you have no problem not listing it.

Personally, I won't change my NOC if the roles matches Engineer more than it does Research Assistant.
 

zram84

Newbie
Jan 5, 2019
1
0
Folks,

I have a related question here. My wife and I are applying via EE , she being the primary applicant. We completed her PHD in Germany. While she was enrolled in her PHD program, she was also working as a 'Research Scientist' (Not TA/RA), full time 40 hrs a week on a work visa in Germany. Some call this an Industry PHD in Europe. She had a PHD mentor in the University but also had a full time direct line boss/manager in her company. We have tax documents and pay slips for all four years to prove this case. In the EE, we have filled details for both work experience as well as education citing the university and the employer , as was the case in reality

My questions
1. Can we claim for points for both FSWP and CRS for the education and the work experience?
2. For the work experience , we are using the code NOC 2121 as her job designation ( mentioned in the offer letter, pay slip etcc) states 'Research Scientist' . Is that accurate or can it cause any problems after the ITA stage?
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Folks,

I have a related question here. My wife and I are applying via EE , she being the primary applicant. We completed her PHD in Germany. While she was enrolled in her PHD program, she was also working as a 'Research Scientist' (Not TA/RA), full time 40 hrs a week on a work visa in Germany. Some call this an Industry PHD in Europe. She had a PHD mentor in the University but also had a full time direct line boss/manager in her company. We have tax documents and pay slips for all four years to prove this case. In the EE, we have filled details for both work experience as well as education citing the university and the employer , as was the case in reality

My questions
1. Can we claim for points for both FSWP and CRS for the education and the work experience?
2. For the work experience , we are using the code NOC 2121 as her job designation ( mentioned in the offer letter, pay slip etcc) states 'Research Scientist' . Is that accurate or can it cause any problems after the ITA stage?
1. Yes, you can claim point for both as long as she has obtained her doctoral degree and assessed so by WES or any other organization you choose. For the work experience, all she needs is a reference letter stating she was employed for the minimum required hours per week and the letter should outline her duties, salary and other pertinent information. There's nothing peculiar about your situation. Most PhDs in Europe usually have a dual (student/employee) status.

2. As has been previously mentioned on this thread. Her job duties and responsibilities are more important than the title. You have to check the NOC directory and see which NOC matches closest to her duties.

I hope that answers your questions and good luck with your application.
 

Captain2019

Member
Apr 21, 2019
13
1
Hi everyone,

My husband earned his PhD from Germany for which he was contractually employed as a scientific employee (Wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter) by his university for 4.5 years. However, given the prerequisite of his university for the degree to be awarded, he was enrolled as a student for 3 yrs. He did not take any courses for the completion of his degree as it was only research based. The salary was a certain percentage of a full-time employee and his part-time hours add up to full-time hours as stipulated by IRCC.

Having gone through some older posts, I found that people who earned their PhDs from European countries and were employed for the same, did apply for PR by claiming work experience points. However, I couldn't determine whether they were successful with their application.

His supervisor is willing to write a letter of reference for the PR application and I would like to have your feedback on the letter draft. Should we go ahead with claiming the points or avoid it as the officer might get confused? Any comments/feedback would be deeply appreciated. Below is the draft:

Subject: Employment verification letter for XXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter serves to verify that XXXX was working part-time as a scientific employee at the XXXX University to complete his doctoral studies under my supervision from DATE to DATE. The duties and responsibilities associated with his position were:
  • Mention duties pertaining to NOC 4012

XXXX was paid according to the German public servant remuneration grade table (TV-L). He received a monthly salary according to XXXX. His position involved the following hours of work:

· DATE A - DATE B: XXX hours/week
· DATE B - DATE C: XXX hours/week
· DATE C - DATE D: XXX hours/week

His monthly (gross) salary was XXXX EUR.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me (see contact information below).

Thank you!!!
 

mohoozee

Star Member
Sep 22, 2017
62
28
Hi everyone,

My husband earned his PhD from Germany for which he was contractually employed as a scientific employee (Wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter) by his university for 4.5 years. However, given the prerequisite of his university for the degree to be awarded, he was enrolled as a student for 3 yrs. He did not take any courses for the completion of his degree as it was only research based. The salary was a certain percentage of a full-time employee and his part-time hours add up to full-time hours as stipulated by IRCC.

Having gone through some older posts, I found that people who earned their PhDs from European countries and were employed for the same, did apply for PR by claiming work experience points. However, I couldn't determine whether they were successful with their application.

His supervisor is willing to write a letter of reference for the PR application and I would like to have your feedback on the letter draft. Should we go ahead with claiming the points or avoid it as the officer might get confused? Any comments/feedback would be deeply appreciated. Below is the draft:

Subject: Employment verification letter for XXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter serves to verify that XXXX was working part-time as a scientific employee at the XXXX University to complete his doctoral studies under my supervision from DATE to DATE. The duties and responsibilities associated with his position were:
  • Mention duties pertaining to NOC 4012

XXXX was paid according to the German public servant remuneration grade table (TV-L). He received a monthly salary according to XXXX. His position involved the following hours of work:

· DATE A - DATE B: XXX hours/week
· DATE B - DATE C: XXX hours/week
· DATE C - DATE D: XXX hours/week

His monthly (gross) salary was XXXX EUR.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me (see contact information below).

Thank you!!!
I think your draft reference looks good. However, I would personally remove the part-time part. In addition, you should ensure that the hours add up to at least 30 per week.

I applied using my Swiss PhD and everything went smoothly. There is no reason why German PhD won't work too as long as your reference letter is well crafted.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:

canada&back

Full Member
Dec 20, 2018
23
2
@mohoozee I'm in the same boat as in the thread to which you replied above. I can understand why the term 'part-time' is mentioned. That's so because at some universities, the contract specifically states that the employment is a certain percentage (either 50%/60%/65%) of the full-time employment. That certain percentage equates to the number of hours which the reference letter states. Since a full-time work is usually 40 hours/week in Germany, 50% employment would mean 20 hours/week to start with. This may increase as one progresses through their PhD. Given that my contract did not mention full-time, and that would be misrepresentation if it's written as such in the reference letter, my admin at the university is legally bound to write part-time. Is there any specific reason because of which you mentioned to avoid writing part-time in the letter?

Given that my PhD also lasted for just less than 5 years and was not technically a full-time position, my total PhD work experience adds up to around 3.5 years (or 4680 hrs) as per the calculation on IRCC website. IRCC considers full-time as 30 hours/week (1560 hours/year). Link here -> https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/eligibility/federal-skilled-workers.html#skilled