Work Permits For Business People In Canada

Business people can work in Canada under simplified rules. Business visitors do not need a work permit, while investors, traders, intra-company transferees, and business professionals require a work permit that is LMIA-exempt. Rules are in Canada trade agreements. Read what rules apply to business people from countries under GATS, NAFTA, CETA, and other trade agreements.

What Are The Work Permit Rules For Business People In Canada?

Different categories of business participants can work in Canada. The rules of their work in Canada are governed by Canada trade agreements.

Business visitors and business people are terms with a different meaning.

Business people are those who come to do business in Canada under a free trade agreement.

So, work permit rules for business people can be found in Canada trade agreements, as discussed below.

Canada Trade Agreements Rules - Work Permits For Business People 

The rules for obtaining a work permit for business people are prescribed in Canada trade agreements:

  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
  • Other Free Trade Agreements 

General Agreement On Trade In Services (GATS) 

GATS covers business persons from the World Trade Organization member states. 

There are 3 groups of business people under GATS: 


1) Business visitors do not need a work permit under GATS.
2) Professionals need a work permit that is LMIA-exempt under GATS.
3) Intra-company transferees need a work permit that is LMIA-exempt under GATS.

    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.

    GATS Member States 

      1. Algeria 
      2. Angola
      3. Antigua & Barbuda
      4. Argentina
      5. Australia
      6. Austria
      7. Bahrain
      8. Bangladesh
      9. Barbados
      10. Belgium
      11. Belize
      12. Benin
      13. Bolivia
      14. Botswana
      15. Brazil
      16. Brunei
      17. Burkina Faso
      18. Burundi
      19. Cameroon
      20. Canada
      21. Central African Republic
      22. Chad
      23. Chile
      24. Colombia
      25. Congo
      26. Costa Rica
      27. Côte d'Ivoire
      28. Cuba
      29. Cyprus
      30. Czech Republic
      31. Denmark
      32. Dominica
      33. Dominican Republic
      34. Egypt
      35. El Salvador
      36. Fiji
      37. Finland
      38. France
      39. Gabon
      40. Gambia
      41. Germany
      42. Ghana
      43. Grenada
      44. Greece
      45. Guatemala
      46. Guinea-Bissau
      47. Guyana
      48. Haïti
      49. Honduras
      50. Hong Kong
      51. Hungary
      52. Iceland
      53. India
      54. Indonesia
      55. Ireland
      56. Israel
      57. Italy
      58. Jamaica
      59. Japan
      60. Kenya
      61. Korea, Republic of
      62. Kuwait
      63. Lesotho
      64. Lichtenstein
      65. Luxembourg
      66. Macau
      67. Madagascar
      68. Malawi
      69. Malaysia
      70. Maldives
      71. Mali
      72. Malta
      73. Mauritania
      74. Mauritius
      75. Mexico
      76. Morocco
      77. Mozambique
      78. Myanmar
      79. Namibia
      80. Netherlands
      81. New Zealand
      82. Nicaragua
      83. Niger
      84. Nigeria
      85. Norway
      86. Pakistan
      87. Paraguay
      88. Peru
      89. Philippines
      90. Poland
      91. Portugal
      92. Qatar
      93. Romania
      94. Rwanda
      95. Saint Lucia
      96. St. Kitts & Nevis
      97. St.Vincent & the Grenadines
      98. Senegal
      99. Sierra Leone
      100. Singapore
      101. Slovak Republic
      102. Slovenia
      103. South Africa
      104. Spain
      105. Sri Lanka
      106. Suriname
      107. Swaziland
      108. Sweden
      109. Switzerland
      110. Tanzania
      111. Thailand
      112. Togo
      113. Trinidad & Tobago
      114. Tunisia
      115. Turkey
      116. Uganda
      117. United Arab Emirates
      118. United Kingdom
      119. Uruguay
      120. United States of America
      121. Venezuela
      122. Zaire
      123. Zambia
      124. Zimbabwe

      North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 

      NAFTA allows business people of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to get a fast entry into each other’s countries for business or investment reasons. NAFAT business people do not need an LMIA. Under NAFTA, business people must meet the general regulations for a temporary visit to Canada. 

      There are four groups of business people under NAFTA: 

      1) Business visitor - can stay up to 6 months - work permit is not required.
      A business visitor is someone who visits Canada to take part in global business activities without being a part of the Canadian labour market. They can stay in Canada for up to  6  months and don’t need a work permit. 

      2) Intra-company transferees - LMIA-exempt work permit is required.
      An intra-company transferee is a person who transfers from one NAFTA state to Canada but within the company. They necessarily have worked on an ongoing basis for at least 1 year in the last 3 years, for the same or a related employer and need a work permit.


      3) Professionals - LMIA-exempt work permit is required.

      Professionals must be suitable to work in one of the NAFTA set jobs, have a Canadian business job offer in that sphere and need a Canadian work permit. 

      Professionals are business persons who enter to provide pre-arranged professional services— either as a salaried employee of a Canadian enterprise, through a contract between the business person and a Canadian employer, or through a contract between the American or Mexican employer of the business person and a Canadian enterprise. Professionals enter to provide services in the field for which they are qualified.

      List of Eligible Professions Under NAFTA 

      1. Accountant
      2. Architect
      3. Computer Systems Analyst
      4. Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster (claims Adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster)
      5. Economist
      6. Engineer
      7. Forester
      8. Graphic Designer
      9. Hotel Manager (See note below for further details.)
      10. Industrial Designer
      11. Interior Designer
      12. Land Surveyor
      13. Landscape Architect
      14. Lawyer (including Notary in the Province of Quebec)
      15. Librarian
      16. Management Consultant
      17. Mathematician  (including statistician and Actuary) 
      18. Range Manager/Range Conservationalist
      19. Research assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)
      20. Scientific Technician/ Technologist
      21. Social Worker
      22. Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)
      23. Technical Publications Writer
      24. Urban Planner (including Geographer)
      25. Vocational Counsellor
      26. Dentist
      27. Dietitian
      28. Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/ Medical Technologist (Mexico and the U.S.)
      29. Nutritionist
      30. Occupational Therapist
      31. Pharmacist
      32. Physician (teaching or research only)
      33. Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist
      34. Psychologist
      35. Recreational Therapist
      36. Registered Nurse
      37. Veterinarian
      38. Agriculturist (including Agronomist)
      39. Animal Breeder
      40. Animal Scientist
      41. Apiculturist
      42. Astronomer
      43. Biochemist
      44. Biologist (including Plant Pathologist) 
      45. Chemist
      46. Dairy Scientist
      47. Entomologist
      48. Epidemiologist
      49. Geneticist
      50. Geologist
      51. Geochemist
      52. Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the U.S.)
      53. Horticulturist
      54. Meteorologist
      55. Pharmacologist
      56. Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)
      57. Plant Breeder
      58. Poultry Scientist
      59. Soil Scientist
      60. Zoologist
      61. Teacher (college, seminary, university)

      4) Traders and investors - LMIA-exempt work permit is required.
      Traders and investors are persons who are involved in planning, as a supervisor or executive, or in a role that involves essential skills in a field of trade between Canada and their country. They must also meet any other rules of NAFTA and need a work permit. 

      Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic And Trade Agreement (CETA) 

      It helps the entry of certain covered business persons who are citizens of Canada and EU member states by removing the requirement for LMIA.

      Under CETA, there are 4 categories of business people: 

      1) Business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes. Work permit is not required. 
      2) Investors. LMIA-exempt work permit is required. 
      3) Independent professionals and contractual service suppliers. LMIA-exempt work permit is required. 
      4) Intra-corporate (company) transferees and spouses. LMIA-exempt work permit is required. 

      Countries Participants in CETA

      1. Canada

      2. Austria

      3. Belgium

      4. Bulgaria

      5. Croatia

      6. Cyprus

      7. Czech Republic

      8. Denmark

      9. Estonia

      10. Finland

      11. France

      12. Germany

      13. Greece

      14. Hungary

      15. Ireland

      16. Italy

      17. Latvia

      18. Lithuania

      19. Luxembourg

      20. Malta

      21. Netherlands

      22. Poland

      23. Portugal

      24. Romania

      25. Slovakia

      26. Slovenia

      27. Spain

      28. Sweden

      29. United Kingdom

      Other Canada Free Trade Agreements

      The Canada-Korea FTA
      The Canada-Chile FTA 
      The Canada-Colombia FTA
      The Canada-Peru FTA 

      If you would like to know more about work permit for business people, you may call +1-647-695-5256 or email or message us using the contact form below.

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