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Business Visitor Visa: Work without a Work Permit

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A business visitor is a foreign national who comes to Canada to engage in international business activities but does not directly enter the Canadian labour market. 

Canada has been inviting business owners to immigrate and start businesses within the country. The Business Visitor Visa allows business owners to temporarily visit Canada for business reasons without being part of the Canadian labour market, such reasons involve, attending industry conferences, building and advancing business relationships, receiving or providing training, investing in a business, and establishing or looking for ways to grow your business in Canada. Simply an individual cannot work in Canada as a business visitor.

Business visitors are able to stay in Canada for up to 6 months, though mostly stay for a few days or few weeks. A business visitor may be accompanied by the family members, if they wish to come to Canada, but they must complete their own visitor visa applications. 

While in Canada, a business visitor cannot work for any company, if an individual wants to work or intend to be employed by a Canadian organization, they need to apply for a work permit. They may be required to return to their countries and apply from there, because their application must be processed by the Canadian visa office in their home country or the country they reside in. The same applies to the accompanied family members who may want to study in some of the Canadian best schools, they must apply for study permit following the same process. However, the business visitor can legally remain in Canada as long as the visitor visa is valid. 

Requirements for Business Visitor Visa

To qualify as a business visitor who wants to apply for visitor visa to Canada, you must show that:

  • You plan to stay for less than 6 months
  • You don’t plan to enter the Canadian labour market
  • Your main place of business and source of income is outside Canada
  • You have documents that support your application
  • You have a valid travel document such as passport or electronic travel authorization (eTA) for those from visa-exempt countries and planning to enter Canada by air.
  • You have enough funds to support your stay in Canada and to return home
  • You plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • You don’t have a criminal background and don’t pose a health risk 

How to Apply for Business Visa

Business visitors need to apply for a visa through a visitor visa or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and indicate they are coming to Canada for international business activities. Business visitors from visa-exempt countries are required to have an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if they arrive by air. Business visitors may be accompanied by family members if they wish to come to Canada, but they must complete their own visitor visa applications. 

Business Visitor Visa Processing time

The processing time for a Business Visitor Visa may take up to 6 weeks. It also depends on the country of citizenship for the applicant and whether they are visa exempt.

Business Visitor Visa Work Permit Exemptions

Foreign nationals require a work permit to work in Canada, however, under certain circumstances and occupations a foreign nationals coming to Canada under business visitor visa can be allowed to work without a work permit.

After Sales Service/Warranty: After-sales or lease service providers may come to Canada for specific installations or to repair and service commercial or industrial equipment under the business visitor cap. The services must have been included in the contract of sale of the equipment in Canada. Service contracts negotiated with third parties after the signing of the sales or lease/rental agreement are not covered by this provision. The hands-on building and construction work is not covered by this provision.

Entertainment – Business Visitors: Foreign Artists invited to perform in Canada can do so without a work permit. Their invitation should also have a time limit. Although some types of performances do require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a work permit. 

Tour Guides or Tour Bus Drivers Operating Within Canada: Tour guides who are acting in the capacity of a chaperone or as an authority figure to lead the group are considered business visitors. It is recommended that the tour guide or tour bus driver consult with an experienced immigration lawyer first. PDE consulting team is an experienced team and we can help you, reach out to us here.

Conference or Convention Organizers: Both organizers and attenders of business related conferences or convention can be considered as business visitors and are exempt from the requirement of a work permit.

IT Workers as Business Visitors: foreign nationals working in the IT industry may enter Canada as business visitors under certain circumstances. 

Guest Speakers in Canada: Foreign nationals who want to come to Canada as guest speakers, commercial speakers, or seminar leaders do not require a work permit.

Why was my Business Visitor Visa Application Refused?

The following are some of the reasons why a business visa application may be refused:

  • Ineligible business activity
  • Duration of stay in Canada
  • The main source of business income and profits
  • Inability to satisfy the reviewing officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay

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Got Questions about Business Visitor Visa? You’re covered.

Business visitors can stay in Canada for a period of 6 months. However, it's advisable to stay in Canada according to the time stated in your application. 

No, a business visitor is not allowed to work in Canada. If desired the applicant must then apply for a work permit. 

No, the Canadian Business Visitor Visa does not include family members. Your family members can accompany you by applying their own visitor visa or temporary resident Visa (TRV)

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