This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in Canada. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.
Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:
- Attending business meetings, discussions and conferences;
- Making sales calls to potential clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of Canada;
- Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings;
- Post-sales services such as repairing, servicing, or supervising installers; repairing or servicing specialized equipment; and setting up and testing commercial or industrial equipment when agreed in the service agreement;
- Supervising the installation of specialized equipment that was purchased or leased from outside of Canada or to supervise the dismantling of equipment purchased in Canada for relocation outside of Canada.
Type of Business Visas – The Visa type will depend on the nationality of the traveler. The following are examples of the types of business visa that are available to the business traveler.
1. Temporary Resident Visa.
Basic Requirements –
1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Good health and character;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to Canada;
4. No intention to permanently reside in Canada;
5. A ticket for onward travel from Canada;
6. Proof of funds.
Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post.
Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to Canada for up to six months.
Typical Documents Required –
All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:
- a valid passport or other acceptable travel document;
- if required, a valid visa or authority to enter Canada;
- if traveling by air, round-trip airline itinerary;
- proof of sufficient funds (e.g., cash or credit cards).
Basic Requirements – The principle visa category for temporary employment in Canada is the Intra-Company (ICT) Work Permit. This is a category for employers to sponsor qualified skilled workers to work as ICT’s in Canada on a temporary basis.
Process Overview – The process for obtaining a visa for skilled workers involves, at most, a two-step process summarized below.
1. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, ICT* work permit applications can be filed at either at the Canadian port of entry or with a Canadian consular post.
If filed with a consular post, the Consulate will issue an Approval Letter and a TRV to permit entry to Canada.
NOTE: Certain nationals may be required to undergo a medical evaluation prior to filing a consular TRV application.
1. Work permit collection at port of entry. Spouses of qualified ICT workers may also be granted an “open” work permit upon request.
*Please note that ICT are exempt from the need for a Labor Market Opinion (confirmation of no readily qualified Canadian workers), provided applicants possess at least one year of out of the last three years’ employment with the company outside of Canada in a specialized knowledge or managerial/executive capacity. Also note that under NAFTA, different processes may apply for U.S. and Mexican nationals.
Estimated Processing Time – Port of entry applicants: Depending on volume of applicants, between a few minutes to two hours.
Consular applications will depend on the consular post of application and if an applicant is required to undergo a medical evaluation. Consular application processing times can range from one to eight weeks.
Validity periods – Visas are valid up to seven years for managerial/executive capacity and five years for specialized-knowledge workers.
Family Members – Spouses of qualified ICT workers may be granted an open work permit. Children are granted study authorization.