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
- Training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company
The Business Visitor category facilitates entry for individuals (without a work permit) who engage in business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour market. Individuals who plan to enter the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit. In addition, a Business Visitor may still require a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada on a temporary basis.
There are a number of subdivisions under this category, but all business visitors must meet the following general criteria:
- There must be no intent to enter the Canadian labour market (there will be no gainful employment in the country)
- The worker’s activity in Canada must be international in scope (it is assumed that a business visitor will engage in cross-border activity of some sort)
- For business visitors in Canada working for a foreign employer, the following criteria are assumed
- The primary source of the worker’s compensation is outside of Canada
- The principal place of employment is located outside of Canada
- The employer’s profits are accrued outside of Canada
When travelling to Canada, a business visitors should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance as a business visitor.
Business visitors may fall into the following sub-categories:
After Sales Service
After-sales service providers may come to Canada to repair, service, supervise installers, and set up and test commercial or industrial equipment. Such services must be detailed in the contract of sale for the equipment in Canada. Individuals coming to Canada to train prospective users or maintenance staff in the operation of specialized equipment may also fall under this category.
Board of Directors Meetings
Members of a board of directors who must enter Canada to attend a meeting are eligible to do so as business visitors. Though these individuals may be remunerated for their time in Canada, this does not constitute entry into the Canadian labour market.
Employees of Short-Term Temporary Residents
Individuals who are employed in a personal capacity, on a full-time basis, by temporary residents in Canada may be considered business visitors. An example of professions that may be eligible under this category include domestic servants, personal assistants or live-in caregivers. If the short-term temporary resident, and subsequently their employee(s), extends their stay past 6 months, a Labour Market Opinion and Work Permit may need to be secured for the employee(s).
Employees of Foreign Companies Contracting Canadian Companies
Situations arise in which foreign companies contract Canadian companies to provide services in Canada. In such a situation, the foreign company may wish to send one or more employees to Canada to ensure that the work is being carried out in a way that pleases the foreign company.
If an employee of a foreign company is sent to Canada for this purpose, they may be considered a business visitor provided they fulfill the following criteria:
- They remain an employee of the foreign company;
- They remain on the payroll of the foreign company;
- The foreign company remains the beneficiary of the employee’s efforts; and
- The foreign company’s principal place of business remains outside of Canada.
A business visitor in this category may remain in Canada for up to two years.