Business Visitors: Working Without A Work Permit

Business visitors

are individuals who come to Canada temporarily to conduct business activities without actually entering the Canadian labour market. They may be eligible to work in Canada without a work permit under the Business Visitor category.

Business visitors typically include individuals who are coming to Canada to attend meetings, conferences, and trade shows, or to negotiate contracts or establish business relationships. They must not enter the Canadian labour market and must not receive payment from a Canadian source for their business activities in Canada, other than reimbursement for expenses incurred during their stay.

Examples of activities that may be considered business visitor activities include:

  • attending business meetings or conferences;
  • engaging in trade shows and exhibitions;
  • conducting site visits to potential business locations;
  • negotiating contracts or deals;
  • providing after-sales service (not involving hands-on work); and
  • providing training for Canadian employees of a parent company, but not working directly with clients.

It’s important to note that business visitors who are not citizens of visa-exempt countries may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada, in addition to meeting other entry requirements.

If you’re planning to come to Canada as a business visitor, it’s important to ensure that your intended activities meet the requirements of the Business Visitor category and that you have all the necessary documentation to support your entry to Canada. You should also be prepared to provide evidence of your ties to your home country, including evidence of employment or business activities there, to demonstrate that you plan to return home at the end of your visit.

Business visitors to Canada 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 people to do business in Canada is important for the continued economic success of the country. Similarly, countries that have 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.

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