Oh Canada! Canada Toughens Stance on Business Visitors


Gone are the days when an employer could send its U.S. citizen employees to the Canadian border with a passport and a simple explanation of the business purpose of the trip. Effective April 1, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is taking a more aggressive stance against the often abused NAFTA Business Visitor category. Employers cannot use the business visitor category in lieu of obtaining a Canadian work permit for employees who will be actually working in Canada as defined by Canadian immigration laws.

Armed with greater powers to scrutinize employer compliance with immigration regulations, immigration officials now have the discretion to request additional information on employer compliance and the power to impose greater penalties for noncompliance, including debarment from hiring foreign workers for two years.

Although business visitors are generally allowed to stay in Canada for up to 180 days, business visitors typically stay in Canada for a few days or a few weeks. In order for a U.S. employer to send its U.S. citizen employees into Canada as business visitors, employers must show the following:

• The employee intends to stay for less than six months and does not plan to engage in gainful employment in Canada (even if the gainful employment is for a duration as short as a few days);

• The principal place of business of the employer is located outside Canada;

• The primary source of the employee’s income is located outside Canada;

• Profits from the employer’s business will accrue outside Canada;

• The activity of employee must be international in scope; and

• The employee meets Canada’s basic entry requirements and does not pose criminal, security or health risks to Canadians (Canada is particularly strict on DUIs).

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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