Work in Canada without a work permit 2017-12-08T03:37:19+00:00

Work in Canada without a work Permit

Business visitors usually do not need a work permit to visit and do business in Canada

Work in Canada without a work permit – Business visitors

Canada ranks amongst the top 10 economies in the world, and attracts many business visitors who visit Canada for a short period annually. As a member of international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and the Group of 7 (G7), as well as signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada runs its economy with an international mindset, thereby attracting business visitors into Canada without the need of a work permit.

A business visitor is a foreign national who visits Canada to conduct international business activities, but who will not enter the Canadian labour market. Canadian business visitors usually don’t need a work permit to visit and conduct business in Canada.

There are many reasons why business why business visitors travel to Canada to conduct including:

  • Attending business meetings, conferences, conventions, fairs, etc.
  • Buying Canadian goods or services on behalf of a foreign entity
  • Investing in or buying a Canadian business
  • Taking orders for goods or services
  • Providing after-sales service, excluding hands-on work in the construction trades
  • Delivering training to a Canadian parent company for work outside of Canada
  • Training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company

Business visitors who plan to enter Canada may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

People with the intention of entering the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit.

Other people who work in Canada for limited periods and in certain situations may work in Canada without a work permit, even though they are not considered business visitors

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The inflow of international business and entrepreneurs into Canada will only drive the growth of the economy and the country’s success. By entering into bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements with other countries, it will also foster the economic relationship that Canadian businesses have, making it easy for Canadian business visitors to invest in other countries.

By ensuring visa reciprocity to other countries, Canada can ensure that its economy thrives.

After-sales or lease services

People engaged in after-sales or lease services can also be categorized as business visitors if they utilize Canadian individuals in the repairing and servicing, supervising installers, and setting up and testing commercial or industrial equipment (including computer software)

The International Mobility Program authorizes people to work in Canada without a work permit if coming as a business visitor. Such individuals have to be engaged in the repair or service of specialized equipment which was purchased or leased outside Canada, provided the service is being performed as part of the original or extended sales agreement, lease/rental agreement, warranty or service contract.

After-sales and lease services equally apply to sales or lease agreement or when a purchase order is for a software upgrade to operate previously sold or leased equipment. Furthermore, a business visitor could be a service person who visits Canada for installation, configuration or training people in the use of a software upgrade. A sales or lease agreement or purchase order for a software upgrade is a new contract for a new product. Keep in mind that hands-on building and construction work is not covered by this provision.

Warranty or service agreement

For warranty or service agreements, the contracts must have been negotiated as part of the initial sales or lease/rental agreements or addendum of the initial agreement for the international visitor to be seen as a business visitor. Also, the service contracts must be negotiated with the third parties who are involved after the signing of the sales or lease/rental agreement are not covered by this provision. Where the project to be handled in Canada is not insured, a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is generally required.

Individuals not considered business visitors

There are certain foreign workers not who are not considered as business visitors. Some of the classes of persons not considered as business visitors are nannies, personal assistants or other people employed on a short-term basis or in a temporary capacity which is less than six months, and will need to obtain a work permit.

Furthermore, in circumstances where an employer in Canada directly contracts the services from an international organization, the employee of such company in Canada will need a work permit.

In many instances, this occurs with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), especially where service providers are not seen as business visitors because payments are not directly from a Canadian company. This is because of the contractual agreement between the Canadian company and employee of the international organization, there is an entry into Canada’s labour market, the implication of this is that because the international organization receives remuneration from a Canadian source, the worker will not be viewed as a business visitor.

For example, a Canadian dockyard is undergoing expansion, and contracts the services of an American company based in the U.S. The American company sends one or more of their employees to Canada to work on the project on site. Since they are working in Canada, and since their U.S-based employer is receiving payment for their services, the employees do not meet the business visitor criteria and cannot receive consideration as business visitors.

Business visitors must demonstrate the following:

  • they plan to stay for less than six months,
  • they do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market,
  • the main place of business, and source of income and profits, is outside Canada,
  • they have documents that support their application and
  • they meet Canada’s basic entry requirements, because they
    • have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
    • have enough money for their stay and to return home,
    • plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
    • are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians.

There are a number of reasons why an individual may come to Canada as a business visitor, including:

  • Attending business meetings, conferences, conventions, fairs, etc;
  • Buying Canadian goods or services on behalf of a foreign entity;
  • Taking orders for goods or services;
  • Providing after-sales service, excluding hands-on work in the construction trades;
  • Being trained by a Canadian parent company for work outside of Canada; and
  • Training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company.

Business visitors to Canada may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Allowing international business professionals to do business in Canada is vital to sustain Canada’s economic success. Similarly, countries with trade agreements and strong economic partnerships with Canada generally allow Canadian business visitors to enter their countries as smoothly as possible. Visa reciprocity is an important aspect of Canada’s business outlook and economic success.