Business Person vs. Business Visitor Information

Business Person vs. Business Visitor – Know the Difference!

There is a big difference between what Citizenship and Immigration Canada refer to as a business person, and what they mean when they speak of a business visitor. It is very important to understand the difference between these two terms, because there are different requirements and obligations each individual has, depending on their status in Canada. Both business visitors and business people are temporary residents coming to Canada on business related activity. Though, the main difference between the two distinctions is still the length of time they each spend in Canada respectively. Business people are permitted to stay much longer than business visitors, because they are covered by a free trade agreement which gives them this permission. Throughout this article, we will discuss the difference between a business visitor and a business person, and a little about coming to Canada under either distinction.

What is a Business Person?

A business person is someone who comes to Canada to do business under a free trade agreement. Specifically, a business person can come to Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or, under one of the other free trade agreements such as the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS). Then, there are very specific circumstances under which individuals qualify under other free trade agreements (FTA’s), such as the Canada-Chile FTA, the Canada-Peru FTA, the Canada-Colombia FTA, and the Canada-Korea FTA. According to the Canadian government, these are modeled on NAFTA to make it easier for business people from one country to enter another country for a short time. Because individuals who apply as a business person are protected by an agreement, they do not need to obtain an LMIA first to allow them to work in Canada. So, to summarize, a business person is permitted to come to Canada because they are protected under a free trade agreement which both their country of origin and Canada are a member of. These individuals do not need to obtain an LMIA. This is the first point to understand.

If everyone is still with me, it is now important to understand that business people, who are coming to Canada under a free trade agreement (FTA), can qualify in any of 4 specific categories of business person. The categories are professionals, intra-company transferees, traders and investors, and business visitors; though, business visitors do not need a work permit. Therefore, throughout this article, we will treat business visitors as an entirely separate category for the purposes of clarity.

It is most important to understand that if you are coming to Canada as a business visitor, you are subject to the eligibility requirements of the category you intend to apply for, and must comply with the obligations of the FTA you are permitted to apply under. Therefore, the application process will vary greatly from person to person.

What is a Business Visitor?

A business visitor is a foreign national that visits Canada to participate in activities which are business related, without directly entering the Canadian labour market. A business visitor is permitted to participate in business meetings, conferences or conduct site visitations to make observation without a work permit, though, the activities they are permitted to engage in are highly restricted. This is not to say the only things these individuals can do are listed above, they can also do things like attend product or sales training that is conducted a Canadian company, or, deal with an after sales agreement, and even buy goods in Canada for a foreign company. The important thing to know is there are very specific restrictions on the things business visitors can do, as they will not have a work permit, and it is crucial to comply with these restrictions.

How Do I Qualify as a under the Professionals Category of Business People?

Business professionals are individuals who are highly skilled and have a position in one of the occupational categories which are set out in a FTA as being a “professional” position. In addition to this, you must have a job offer from an eligible Canadian employer which is in your professional field. Then, before you come to assume the position you have been offered, you must demonstrate to Citizenship and Immigration Services Canada you are qualified for a work permit under a designated free trade agreement, and you meet all the necessary requirements. You should compile evidence of your ability and prove the offer is legitimate to the best of your abilities, as you must use this to apply for a work permit, to be legally allowed to begin working in Canada.

How Do I Qualify as a under the Intra-Company Transferee Category of Business People?

This type of work permit is useful for individuals who work for trans-national corporations (TNCs), otherwise known as multi-national corporations. By nature, these companies are an international affair; therefore, it is possible one TNC has an affiliate in Canada. Should there be an individual the company is wishing to transfer because they are of special value in a particular position, they can apply for an Intra-Company Transferee work permit. To be eligible for this type of work permit, you must be eligible under a FTA which can be applied to your circumstance, while, you must also meet the requirements of an Intra-Company Transferee worker. Specifically, an Intra-Company Transferee application must include proof of a relationship between the foreign company you currently work for, and the company inside Canada you wish to work for. Also, you must prove the individual being transferred has a certain level of experience within the foreign company, and has been working with the company on an on-going basis for at least 1 year in a managerial or executive position, or one that uses specialized knowledge.

How Do I Qualify as a under the Intra-Company Transferee Category of Business People?

To qualify for a work permit under the traders and investors category as a business person, the first requirement is the same as the others. You must be able to apply an FTA to your country of origin, and Canada. Then, you must also be involved in planning, as a supervisor or executive, or in a role that involves essential skills in your position. In addition to this, you must have a large amount of trade in goods or services between Canada and your home country, or, you could also have a large investment in Canada by you or your company. You should compile evidence of your investments to the best of your abilities, as you must use this to apply for a work permit and to be legally allowed to begin working in Canada.

How Do I Qualify as a Business Visitor?

Entering Canada as a business visitor may be easier than the other 3 options we have discussed, as no work permit is required prior to entry. However, it may be harder to prove you are eligible and legitimate as a business visitor to the extent Canadian immigration services requires. You must prove to the officer considering your entry to Canada that you will without a doubt comply with all requirements of business visitors. The following are the obligations business visitors have, if they would like to exercise the privilege of entering Canada as a business visitor, without needing a work permit.

In order to be eligible as a business visitor, you must:

  • Travel to Canada for business for less than six months; Convince an immigration officer you will leave at the end of your authorized stay
  • Do not plan to enter the Canadian Labor Market;
  • Have a main business & income from outside of Canada;
  • Obtain all profits for your business from outside of Canada;
  • Provide the proper supporting business documentation to prove you are requesting entry into Canada for legitimate purposes;
  • Be admissible to Canada

Contact Akrami and Associates

There is an over whelming amount of information to consider when applying to work within Canada. It can be very confusing trying to assess your specific circumstances and get all the things you need in your application ready and submitted properly, to give yourself the best chance of being allowed to work in Canada. Should you have any further questions or feel confused or unclear about how to apply for a work permit, it is important to talk about any questions you may have and discuss your concerns. Akrami & Associates would be more than happy to assist you with obtaining your work permit. Feel free to contact our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you want to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice. At Akrami & Associates, we have submitted many successful work permits and have helped our clients gain exceptional job and career experience for their future.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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