By Diana Gaspar, Attorney at Exeo Attorneys
The Business Visitor category of travelers includes a multitude of people representing different backgrounds and professions, who wish to travel to Canada for various business related reasons.
The question then arises: What exactly is a Business Visitor?
In a nutshell, a Business Visitor is a foreign national who wishes to travel to Canada to engage in international business activities, without directly entering the local labour market. A Business Visitor can remain in Canada for a period of maximum six months.
Foreign nationals may temporarily want to visit Canada to look for new business opportunities or to enhance existing business relationships.
Business Visitors engage in international business activities that often include some of the following scenarios: buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign entity; taking orders for goods or services; going to meetings or conferences and giving after-sales service. Visitors may also come to Canada to observe site visits. Alternatively, a Canadian company may invite them for training purposes, sales or other functions related to cross-border business transactions.
Under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), a U.S. or Mexican national may take part in additional activities, such as research, marketing and general services.
To be part of the Business Visitor category, a foreign national must show no intent to enter the Canadian labour market. The main place of business and source of income must be located outside Canada and profits from the business must accrue outside Canada.
The beauty of this category of visitors is its wide scope, as it can be applicable to individuals seeking different goals by temporarily entering Canada. In addition, no work permits are required, because Business Visitors ultimately do not enter the local job market. However, like all temporary residents, they will be assessed for criminal and medical admissibility to Canada.
In conclusion, allowing Business Visitors to enter Canada without a work permit is, on one hand, beneficial for Canadian businesses as well as our economy. International business people, on the other hand, can conduct business in Canada without going through the work permit application process. It is therefore essential for a Business Visitor to prepare the appropriate documentation before coming to Canada in order to avoid difficulties at the border.