Here’s a little bit of backstory:

I moved in to Canada from Iran 2 years ago with my family with just a Visitor’s Visa but after I attended school for 6 months, I got my Student’s Visa and I’ve been studying in Canada ever since (I’m a minor).

Last year, I was approached by my math teacher that, given that I exceed 8th grade math, I can take an advanced grade 9 math course at my city’s high school. I finished that in 1 semester (usually, it’s 2 semesters but since it was an AP course, it was only 1 semester long) and for the last semester, I took a grade 11 computer science course. When I asked my teacher how this would affect my future, she told me that when I finish all my high school math and CS courses in 3 semesters (1 year and a half), I could get an internship at a tech company, most likely IBM (please note that my teacher most likely didn’t account in the fact that I’m Iranian).

Last night, I had a talk with an Iranian friend of my dad’s (a resident) who told me that non-resident Iranians couldn’t attend many conferences and are not able to get jobs because of America’s current situation with Iran (he got his PR a couple of months ago and didn’t have a job before that). I then told him that the cybersecurity faculty of UNB (the main university in my city) is mostly composed of Iranians to which he replied they’re mostly residents. So it got me thinking, does the fact that I’m a non-resident Iranian stop me from getting an internship at an American company (in my case, IBM)?


I am trying to work in Canada for an American company.

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    Would you be against getting Canadian citizenship? I think it would make getting a US visa considerably easier. Aug 6, 2019 at 2:03
  • Well, as I mentioned, I can get an internship as early as 2021 and although my family and I are trying to get Canadian citizenship, it will at least take 5 years. And I don’t need a US visa(at least not until I go to university) because although the internship is at an American company, it’s in Canada and I don’t see how a US visa would help me with that.
    – user106337
    Aug 6, 2019 at 2:06
  • 3
    If it is in Canada, then the fact it is an american company does not matter. If you are legally able to work in Canada, then you can work in an American company in Canada. Aug 6, 2019 at 2:09
  • That could be my question as well: If I have a Student’s Visa(not a work permit though), then could I work? Right now, I’m working on a CS paper with a prof at the local university but that counts but that does not count as an internship and I am not getting paid(although my name will be published).
    – user106337
    Aug 6, 2019 at 3:26
  • 2
    OP can your clarify - are you considering employment in the United States? Or at an American company in Canada? They are entirely different questions.
    – selbie
    Aug 6, 2019 at 4:44

3 Answers 3


Part of the problem is: you're not asking the people that can answer the question best.

Keep in mind, most companies have a group of people dedicated towards making sure smart, talented people can find their way into their workforce: Human Resources. It's their job to answer any questions you have about the best way to navigate your way into a tech career with them - and they may be able to even offer some advice that will help you out.

I'd go to IBM's web page, and navigate around the Support/Contact-Us/Careers/etc section until you find a page that will let you send an email or submit a question to them. For instance, I found:


... though this is the US version of the site, so you might need to find something similar for Canada.

One final note... you might not want to get too stuck specifically on IBM. Nothing against them, and nothing against working for them. But the Tech world is awfully big, and there are a lot more places to do IT stuff than just one company.

Anyway, best of luck on your quest!


Putting aside any issue you may have with entry Visas, etc., you may have issues with IBM's requirements for ITAR compliance [1] and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Commerce Control [2].

For example, Iran is on the list of prohibited countries that can never receive ITAR controlled products (and thus anyone who is or could become e.g. by entitlement an Iranian citizen is forbidden from coming into contact with ITAR controlled materiel), and my understanding is that IBM's government cloud offerings are certified to store ITAR controlled materiel, so you would never be allowed to work in that part of the company. I suspect the same would apply to commerce controlled products e.g. high strength cryptography.

So, you may be able to work in some areas of IBM, but it is by no means certain and you should definitely verify any arrangements with your internship coordinator and the company ITAR control office (if they're big enough to have a dedicated one) or security coordinator before commencement.

This may seem unfair, but the law is quite unyielding in this regard and you must understand the company's position - serious violations of ITAR can result in large fines (in the 10's of millions for the company, I don't recall the maximum for individuals) and even jail time (I think the upper bound is 10 years). So companies do have to take compliance extremely seriously.

[1] https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-itar-compliance

[2] https://www-03.ibm.com/products/exporting/


The problem is not that you are an Iranian. I personally know several Iranians working at IBM and other IT companies in Canada.

You can only work in Canada if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or if you have a visa that allows you to work. This includes certain student permits -- does yours say that you are allowed to work? If not, this is what will prevent you from being employed by any company in Canada. You can check all the conditions that you must meet to be able to work in Canada on the Canadian government web site.