Last updated on March 30th, 2021
Last Updated on March 30, 2021 by Steven Meurrens
The Business Visitor category facilitates the entry of a broad range of individuals who intend to enter Canada to engage in business or trade activities without entering the Canadian labour market. Business Visitors do not need work permits, pursuant to section 186(a) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“), which states that:
No permit required
186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit
(a) as a business visitor to Canada within the meaning of section 187;
IRPR s. 187, meanwhile, states that:
187. (1) For the purposes of paragraph 186(a), a business visitor to Canada is a foreign national who is described in subsection (2) or who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market.
(2) The following foreign nationals are business visitors:
(a) foreign nationals purchasing Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government, or receiving training or familiarization in respect of such goods or services;
(b) foreign nationals receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside Canada, if any production of goods or services that results from the training is incidental; and
(c) foreign nationals representing a foreign business or government for the purpose of selling goods for that business or government, if the foreign national is not engaged in making sales to the general public in Canada.
(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a foreign national seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market only if
(a) the primary source of remuneration for the business activities is outside Canada; and
(b) the principal place of business and actual place of accrual of profits remain predominately outside Canada.
Accordingly, the general criteria to be a Business Visitor is that:
(a) the employee must not intend to enter the Canadian labour market;
(b) the employee’s activity must be international in scope; and
(c) the primary source of the worker’s remuneration should remain outside Canada, the principal place of the worker’s employer should be outside of Canada, and the accrual of profits of the worker’s employer should be outside of Canada.
Typical examples of business activities include, but are not limited to, consultation, negotiation, discussion, research, participation in educational, professional, or business conventions, or meetings and soliciting business. As well, a person attending a meeting as a member of a board of directors may enter as a business visitor.
Here is what IRCC told one representative who e-mailed them to inquire about what was permissible.
The following is an example of an approval under the Business Visitor category. It also answers the often asked question of whether a foreigner who owns a business in Canada needs a work permit to simply meet with his Canadian staff. Please note that this was not my file, as it is not my practice to post my files on this blog. Rather, this was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.
Intra-Company Trainees and Trainers
IRPR s. 187(2)(b) is not as well known as it should be. It provides that foreign nationals who are receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside of Canada does not require a work permit.
The following is an example of an approval under this category. Please note once again that this was not my file, as it is not my practice to post my files on this blog. Rather, this was obtained through an Access to Information Act request. The foreign national should maintain their position in their home branch and not be paid above expenses by the Canadian branch.