If you are a foreign national looking to enter the Canadian labor market, you are required to have a work permit. A work permit is a legal document that authorizes a foreign national to engage with a Canadian employer for employment and receive compensation.
However, there are special circumstances and certain occupations that allow you to work without a work permit in Canada.
Who Qualifies for Work Without Work Permits?
There are certain occupations that allow a foreign national to engage in Canadian employment without a work permit on a temporary basis and they are required to meet the additional exemption criteria for their specific job type.
The following types of jobs may not require you to have a work permit:
- Athlete or coach
- Aviation accident or incident investigator
- Business visitor
- Civil aviation inspector
- Convention organizer
- Crew member
- Emergency service provider
- Examiner and evaluator
- Expert witness or investigator
- A family member of a foreign representative
- Foreign government officer or representative
- Health care student
- Judge, referee or similar official
- Military personnel
- News reporter or film and media crew
- Producer or staff member working on advertisements
- Performing artist
- Public speaker
- Short-term highly-skilled worker
- Short-term researcher
- Student working off-campus
- Student working on-campus
What Specific Situations and Occupations Apply to Business Visitors Without Work Permits?
Business Visitor: A business visitor is someone who is allowed to engage in international business activities without directly entering the Canadian labor market.
Business visitors can fall into the following groupings for work without work permits:
After Sales Service/Warranty
After sales service providers can come to Canada for specific installations and to repair or service commercial or industrial equipment. These services must be included in the contract of the sale of the equipment in Canada.
Guest Speakers in Canada
People who intend to come to Canada as guest speakers, commercial speakers or seminar leaders do not require a work permit.
Business Visitors Entertainment
Foreign Artists performing in Canada can do so without a work permit. Some types of performances do require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a work permit. However, guest artists who have been invited to perform come under this exception as long as their invitation is for a time-limited engagement.
People who come to Canada to organize a convention or a conference come under this category. If you are attending a convention, you’d be considered a business visitor and are exempt from the requirement of a work permit.
Tour Guides Operating Within Canada
Tour guides who are acting in the capacity of a chaperone or as an authority figure to lead a group are considered business visitors. Also, if the trip begins or concludes outside of Canada, a work permit is not required. However, it is wise for any tour guide or tour bus driver to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before embarking on a trip.
IT Workers as Business Visitors
Under certain circumstances, foreign nationals working in the Information Technology industry (or IT industry) can enter Canada as business visitors. Since business visitors can work in Canada without a work permit, IT workers find this option suitable for their needs.
Short-Term Work Permit Exemption: This work permit exemption allows for short-term high value work that facilitates the transfer of knowledge and skills to Canadian workers. This lasts for 15 to 30 calendar days only.
Working Off-Campus: International students on a study permit are allowed to work without a work permit for up to 20 hours a week during the regular academic semester and full-time during scheduled breaks.