Business Visitor Visa Canada

What is the difference between a business visitor and a foreign worker?

A foreign worker is an individual who is temporarily living in Canada, working for a Canadian employer. He or she forms part of the Canadian labor market and is in possession of a work permit.

A business visitor visa, on the other hand, is an individual who travels to Canada to take part in business activities but does not work for a Canadian employer. Examples of business visitors include the following:

  • Delegates of conferences, conventions, trade shows or fairs, and business meetings
  • Attendees of training courses, or the instructors of training courses
  • After-sales service providers who are not working hands-on in the construction industry
  • Employees of foreign companies who are purchasing Canadian goods or services on behalf of their employers
  • Individuals who are taking orders for goods and services that they are offering

Does a business visitor need a work permit?

Much of Canada’s economic success comes from its collaboration with other countries. It is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the world-renowned G7, and it is also a signatory of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These designations come with a certain amount of visa reciprocity, whereby Canadian business travelers can smoothly enter other countries and vice versa. Therefore, in general, most business visitors to Canada do not require a work permit, though they will be subject to the visitor visa requirements that apply to their country.

In order to enter Canada as a business visitor, you need to demonstrate the following:

  • That you will be in Canada for less than six months
  • That you are not intending to seek employment in Canada
  • That your primary business or place of employment is outside of Canada
  • That you have valid travel documents
  • That you are able to support yourself during your time in Canada and that you intend to leave when your business activities have been concluded

Are equipment installers and technicians considered to be business visitors?

Specialized services that included in a sales or lease agreement, or warranty/service contract, can generally be performed without the need for a work permit. Examples include the setup of industrial equipment and computer software installation, upgrade or training. This does not apply to hands-on word typically done by people who work in construction, such as pipe fitters or electricians.

Work done under a warranty/service contract can be done without a work permit as long as the contract was part of the original sales or lease agreement, or an extension thereof. If the work is done under a third party service contract, a work permit is generally needed.

What about contractors from foreign companies?

If a Canadian employer contract for services from a foreign company, and those services are performed within Canada, the employee of the foreign company will need a work permit. Since the individual is working in Canada and being paid from a Canadian source, he or she is considered to be part of the Canadian labor market. Therefore, a work permit will be required. Examples include software developers and on-site design/construction teams.

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