Often, business visitors to Canada do not need a Canadian work permit.
A business visitor is a foreign national who comes to Canada to participate in international business activities. However, he or she is not allowed to enter the Canadian Labour Market.
Canada is emerging to be economically strongest country of the world. It welcomes thousands of business visitors every year. It has an international market-oriented economy and as a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and the Group of 7 (G7), as well as signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada puts best efforts so that international business visitors can come to Canada on business trips.
Whether a candidate will require a business work permit or not depends on the nature of the work and the nationality of the candidate and these facts.
- General Outline
- After-sales services
- Individuals who are not considered to be a business visitor
- Warranty of the service.
Business visitors must demonstrate the following:
- Their stay should be for a short duration of 6 months.
- They have no plans to participate in the Canadian labour market.
- Their source of income and business centre and source of profits, is outside Canada.
- They have relevant documents to support their application and they secure Canada’s minimum entry standards, as they have a valid travel document, such as a passport.
- They must have sufficient money to sustain themselves in Canada and to return home, plan to leave Canada at the end of their visit, and have no criminal record, and bear no security or health risk to Canadians.
There could be many reasons for an individual to visit Canada as a business visitor, like:
- For attending business meetings, conferences, fairs, etc;
- Buying goods or services on behalf of a foreign entity;
- Receiving orders for goods or services;
- For after-sales service, except the hands-on work in the construction trades;
- Get training from a senior Canadian company for working outside of Canada; and
- Training workers of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company.
Business visitors to Canada usually need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Countries that have trade agreements and strong economic partnerships with Canada generally allow Canadian business visitors to enter their countries as smoothly as possible. For the economic growth of the country it is very important to involve international investors. Visa reciprocity is another crucial aspect of Canada’s business frame and economic growth.
The After-sales or lease services
Individual repairing and servicing, setting up (excluding hands on installation )and supervising installers, and testing commercial equipment ( inclusive of computer software) might be taken as business visitors, and the same may not need a work permit.
If the service is being performed as part of the initial or extended sales agreement, lease/rental agreement, warranty or service contract, Candidates seeking entry to repair or service specific equipment purchased or leased outside Canada must be abided by the above provisions.
After-sales and lease services often include instances where the lease agreement or sales or purchase order is for upgrading software to operate already sold or leased equipment. A service person immigrating Canada to install, configure or give training on the upgraded software may be a business visitor. The agreement or purchase order for upgrading software is a fresh contract for a new product. However, hands-on building and construction work is not covered by this provision.
Service agreement or Warranty
Individuals looking for warranty or service agreements, contracts must have been bargained as part of the actual sales or lease/rental agreements or be an extension of the actual agreement for the foreign national as a business visitor.
Service contracts which are negotiated with third parties post signing the sales or lease/rental agreement do not fall under this provision. If the work to be performed in Canada does not fall under a warranty, a work permit and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) becomes necessary.
Individuals who not considered business visitors
In circumstances where a Canadian employer has directly contracted for obtaining services from a non-Canadian company, the employee of the foreign company carrying out the services for the Canadian company must have a Canadian work permit.
This particular situation arises frequently in the case of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The service provider is not to be approved as a business visitor just because he or she is not receiving compensation from a Canadian source directly. There is a contract between the Canadian company and the foreign worker’s employer, hence, there is an entry to the Canadian labour market. Now the foreign employer is receiving payment for the service that is being provided, it is concluded that the employee is receiving payment from a Canadian source. As a result, the worker cannot be considered a business visitor.
Considering an example where an infrastructure project in Canada contracts the services of a U.S.-based urban planning firm, which sends a small team to Canada work on site. The team members work in Canada, and the firm is receives compensation for being engaged on the project. Therefore, the team members fail to satisfy the criteria to be considered as business visitors to Canada.
Individuals planning to participate in the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit.
Other candidates working in Canada for short-duration and in certain instances may work in Canada without a work permit, they may not considered as business visitors.