Business visitors are usually able to travel on short notice,
subject to being a national of a country for which a Temporary
Resident Visa (TRV) is required to enter Canada. Depending
on the passport held by the foreign national, a business visitor
may have to obtain a TRV at a Canadian Embassy or Consulate
outside Canada as a prerequisite prior to travelling to Canada.
Alternatively, foreign nationals who do not require a TRV may
require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which is
applied for online at the Government of Canada website. The
entry requirements for foreign nationals can be divided into three
groups of travellers:
1. Travellers requiring a TRV: Generally, these are citizens of
‘developing world countries’ such as all African countries, most
Asian countries, most countries of the former Soviet Union
and many countries in South America.
2. Travellers requiring an eTA: These are citizens of countries
that are TRV-exempt such as Western Europe, Japan,
Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
3. Travellers not requiring a TRV or an eTA: Citizens of the
United States are exempt from both requirements.
It is important that HR professionals and managers are aware
of the nationality of their business travellers to commence visa
applications in a timely manner and to manage expectations.
A TRV can take several weeks to issue, with no guarantee
of success, while an eTA can usually be issued within a day.
Regardless of nationality, it is recommended that all business
visitors have an introduction letter from the Canadian company
they will be visiting to present to Immigration authorities on
arrival in Canada.
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If a foreign national undertakes an activity in Canada that could
theoretically be performed by a Canadian, then a work permit is
required. Work is defined as an activity for which wages, commis-sion
or other valuable consideration is earned, or an activity that
competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or perma-nent
residents in the Canadian labour market. It is not relevant
that there may not be a Canadian readily available to undertake
the activity, nor is it relevant that the foreign worker will be paid
from outside Canada.
Clear examples of functions requiring a work permit include a
foreign-based employee who holds a title within a Canadian office,
has direct reports in Canada or provides direction to a Canadian
office. This captures senior managers who have cross-border man-agerial
responsibility for employees or a function. The work permit
definition also captures foreign management consultants engaged
on a project for a Canadian client. Furthermore, where a Canadian
office obtains the assistance of a foreign office’s employees to aid
in the completion of a project, then those foreign employees are
undertaking a work function for which a work permit is required.
WORK PERMIT CATEGORIES
Once it is determined that a work permit is required, the next
assessment to be undertaken is selecting the appropriate work
permit category. There are over 20 work permit categories, each
with its own procedure and processing time, and it is extremely
important that the appropriate and most expedient category be
selected. It is not the responsibility of Immigration, Refugees and
Citizenship Canada to determine the most expedient category of
entry for a foreign national. In fact, in the absence of a submission
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