Business people

Business people and business visitors are not the same.

Business people come to do business under a free trade agreement.

Business people can enter and work in Canada if they qualify under one of these agreements:

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

NAFTA lets citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico gain quick entry into each other’s countries for temporary business or investment reasons.

These people do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This means that Canadian employers do not need to have a job offer approved by Employment and Social Development Canada to hire an American or a Mexican business person.

Under NAFTA, business people must meet the general rules for temporary entry to Canada.

There are four groups of business people under NAFTA:

  • business visitors
  • professionals
  • intra-company transferees
  • traders and investors

Business visitors

A business visitor is someone who comes to Canada to take part in international business activities without being part of the Canadian labour market. Business visitors usually stay in Canada for a few days or a few weeks but are able to stay for up to six months.

Business visitors do not need a work permit.

Professionals

To work in Canada as a professional, you must:

  • be qualified to work in one of the jobs set out in NAFTA (for example, accountant, computer systems analyst or engineer),
  • have a job offer from a Canadian business in that field and
  • have a work permit.

Intra-company transferee

This is a person who is sent to work for the same company in a different country. If this is your case, you must:

  • have worked
    • on an ongoing basis,
    • for at least one year in the last three years,
    • for the same or a related employer in the United States or Mexico,
  • be transferred to Canada to work short term for the same or a related employer,
  • work as a manager, as an executive or in a job that uses specialized knowledge, and
  • have a work permit.

Traders and investors

To work in Canada as a trader or investor, you must:

  • be involved in planning, as a supervisor or executive, or in a role that involves essential skills,
    • a large amount of trade in goods or services, mainly between Canada and your home country, or
    • a large investment in Canada by you or your company,
  • meet any other rules of NAFTA and
  • have a work permit.

Learn more about business people.

Other Free Trade Agreements

Other free trade agreements (FTAs), such as

  • the Canada-Chile FTA,  
  • the Canada-Peru FTA, and
  • the Canada-Colombia FTA

are modelled on NAFTA to make it easier for business people from one country to enter another country for a short time.

The rules are similar to those under NAFTA and cover business people such as:

  • business visitors,
  • professionals,
  • intra-company transferees and
  • traders and investors.

Learn more about rules for business people under other free trade agreements.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

Under GATS, Canada agreed to make it easier for foreign business people to access the Canadian services market. This applies to service providers from more than 140 World Trade Organization member countries.

Three groups of business people are covered:

  • business visitors,
  • professionals and
  • intra-company transferees.

Qualified business people can enter Canada more easily because they do not need an LMIA from the Government of Canada or, in the case of business visitors, a work permit.

Learn more about rules for business people under GATS.

 
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