A business visitor is a foreign national who comes to Canada to participate in international business activities, but who will not enter the Canadian labour market. Although a work permit is not required, business visitors from countries requiring a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada must receive a TRV before travelling to Canada.
Canada is one of the world’s largest economies, attracting thousands of short-term business visitors each year. With 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 strives to ensure that international business visitors can come to Canada on business trips. Subject to the nature of the work, as well as the individual’s nationality, certain business visitors can enter the country to conduct business or trade activity without needing a work permit.
Business visitors must demonstrate the following:
- They must intend to stay in Canada for a short period, typically less than six months;
- They must not intend to enter the Canadian labour market in any way;
- Their main place of business and source of income must be located outside of Canada;
- Any profits from their business must be made outside of Canada; and
- They must meet standard Canadian entry requirements.
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.
Individuals who plan to enter the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit.
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.