Business visitors form a distinct group of international workers arriving in Canada who, for various reasons, can engage in employment without the necessity of obtaining a work permit. Such exemptions typically stem from the temporary nature of the tasks to be carried out in Canada and the assurance that the foreign national’s work will not adversely affect the Canadian labor market.

Foreign nationals with expertise in this field may be classified as business visitors through various paths:

Customer Support

A subset of business visitors falls under the category of after-sales service, a term commonly used in the realm of cross-border transactions. This pertains to instances where a Canadian company acquires a product from an international counterpart, necessitating the foreign company to provide post-purchase services or conduct maintenance for the acquired product. This frequently involves the deployment of foreign IT/Tech professionals to Canada, especially when dealing with intricate technological equipment or computer systems software. The specialized nature of the servicing often requires proprietary knowledge held exclusively by the foreign company’s employees, making them eligible for entry as business visitors.

Presenters/Workshop Attendees

Yet another group of business visitors includes foreign nationals arriving in Canada temporarily to deliver presentations at seminars or partake in workshops. The pervasive influence of technology in contemporary society has led to a substantial rise in the frequency of such events, covering a diverse range of IT/Tech-related topics. In the IT/Tech sector, it is not unusual for foreign experts to be admitted as business visitors, allowing Canadians to gain insights from their specialized knowledge on specific subjects.

Training at a Canadian Company

Another subset of business visitors frequently encountered in the IT/Tech sector comprises foreign nationals who come to Canada for training sessions conducted at a local branch of a multinational corporation. Given that the utilization of specific equipment or software may entail proprietary knowledge unique to the company, there is often no alternative source for training on these specialized tools. Consequently, the only viable option is to have the foreign national enter Canada for training purposes, and Canadian immigration authorities accommodate this need by establishing a dedicated business visitor category for such cases.


Given the aforementioned situations and the reasons outlined earlier, it may appear relatively straightforward for IT/Tech workers to enter Canada for work-related reasons. However, it’s crucial to recognize that immigration authorities wield broad discretion when evaluating individuals entering the country. Consequently, there is a common occurrence where individuals who should rightfully be considered as business visitors face entry denials because a border officer may incorrectly believe that a work permit is necessary.

Should the employer on a visit extend their stay in Canada, altering the employee’s work dynamics such that they are no longer predominantly working outside Canada or their primary source of remuneration is no longer considered outside Canada, the individual ceases to qualify as a business visitor. In such cases, obtaining a work permit and LMIA may be necessary to continue working. Be advised that stays beyond 6 months exceed the threshold set by R187(3)(b). Border services officers issuing a visitor record for such durations should specify reasons in the “Remarks” section.

Therefore, when contemplating entry into Canada for work purposes, it is advisable to consult with a qualified immigration attorney. Seeking professional advice can help maximize the likelihood of a smooth entry process, addressing potential challenges, and ensuring compliance with immigration regulations.


Business visitors [R186(a)]: Authorization to work without a work permit – International Mobility Program –


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