Of particular interest to multinational companies establishing or expanding operations in Ontario are the following work permit categories that do not require a Labour Market Opinion and instead allow an application directly to CIC (for further information, see Citizenship and Immigration Canada's "Foreign Worker Manual").
Who is a Business Visitor?
A business visitor is someone who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market, and where the primary source of remuneration and place of business remains outside of Canada. Examples of business visitors include:
- Representatives of foreign businesses coming to explore investment opportunities or meet with Canadian companies;
- Buyers of goods or services;
- Company trainers/trainees coming to deliver or receive training in a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate of their company;
- After sales service personnel as per a warranty or sales agreement, including supervising the installation of equipment or machinery purchased or leased outside of Canada, or to repair, service or provide familiarization services on such equipment. After-sales service does not include any hands on building or construction that would generally be performed by a tradesperson.
What documentation is required for a Business Visitor to Enter Canada?
Business visitors do not require a work permit but depending on nationality may require a temporary resident visa (TRV) to enter Canada.
Business Visitors should have a letter from their foreign employer which clearly states the purpose of their trip to Canada, the anticipated length of stay, and confirmation that their source of remuneration remains outside Canada. After sales personnel must have a copy of the relevant sales, warranty or service agreement outlining the services to be provided.
Business Visitors are subject to normal visitor requirements and are normally granted entry for a length of time that is reasonable to fulfill the purpose of their trip to Canada.
Who can apply as an intra-company transferee?
The intra-company transfer policy allows international companies with a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate in Canada to temporarily transfer senior executives, managers or employees with specialized knowledge to the location in Canada in order to improve management effectiveness, expand Canadian exports and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian entities in overseas markets.
Qualifying employees can apply directly to CIC for a work permit under the intra-company transferee category. To be eligible under the intra-company transferee category:
- Requires the Canadian company to be doing, or expect to be doing business;
- Requires the employee to have been working for the company in a similar capacity for at least one year in the preceding three years;
- Requires a letter from the employer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada detailing how the company and employee meet the requirements.
What documentation is required to work as an intra-company transferee?
Intra-company transferees require a work permit in order to take up a position in Canada. An intra-company transferee can apply at a Canadian visa office outside of Canada for a work permit. Citizens of the USA and visa exempt countries may apply upon entry to Canada. There is an application fee of $150 Canadian for a work permit. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.
Visit the CIC website for processing times, visa offices and a downloadable application form.
In addition to the work permit application form the employee should submit a letter from their employer providing the following information:
- Confirmation of employment in an executive, senior management or specialized knowledge capacity by the entity outside of Canada for at least one year in the previous three years;
- An outline of the applicant's position, job title, place in the organization and duties performed;
- An outline of the applicant's qualifications;
- An outline of the intended position in Canada, job titles, duties etc.;
- A description of the relationship between the Canadian and foreign entity; and
- Arrangements for remuneration.
Citizens of certain countries may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and/or an immigration medical examination as part of the work permit application process.
How long can an intra-company transferee work in Canada?
A qualifying intra-company transferee may be issued an initial work permit valid for 3 years. Executives and managers may be issued extensions in two year increments up to a maximum of 7 years, and specialized knowledge staff for up to 5 years total.
Spousal Work Permits
The spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker may be eligible for an open work permit without the need for a job offer in Canada. The skilled worker must be authorized to work in Canada for 6 months or longer and the work must be in a skill level of NOC 0, A or B.
To be eligible, the work permit of the principal applicant (skilled worker) must be valid for a minimum of six months and the skilled worker must reside in Canada.