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How American residents can work in Canada Canadian work permit options for job-seekers.

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Most U.S. residents need a work permit in order to work in Canada.

Work permits in Canada fall under two categories. The first category involves a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Canada’s federal government uses the LMIA to determine how the hiring of foreign workers may impact the wages and employment of workers in Canada. Some job offers require an LMIA, and hence, employers in Canada need to petition the federal government and obtain either a positive or neutral LMIA before bringing the foreign worker in.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

The second category does not require an LMIA. Under this category, LMIAs are not required due to Canada’s economic and social interests. U.S. citizens, for example, may be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the United States-Canada-Mexico-Agreement (USMCA). U.S. citizens have greater flexibility to work in Canada under the CUSMA if they have a job available through their current employer or a new one, or if they are going to engage in substantial investments or trade in Canada.

The type of work permit you need depends on the type of work you’ll be doing. If you are just transferring within the same company to a branch office in Canada, you may be able to do so as an Intra-Company Transfer.

Certain tech occupations, and companies, will allow you to move to Canada in about four weeks through the Global Talent Stream. The hiring process under this fast-track program involves meeting certain requirements, such as completing an LMIA, and commitment to certain salary requirements, among others.

It is important to note that coming to Canada as a foreign worker provides an advantage if you wish to immigrate. Many of Canada’s economic class immigration streams either provide more points or are designed for foreign nationals who have Canadian work experience. For instance, you can gain more points under Express Entry for work experience completed in Canada.

Work without a work permit in Canada

In many cases, business visitors to Canada do not require a Canadian work permit.

A business visitor is a foreign national who comes to Canada to participate in international business activities, but who will not enter the Canadian labour market.

Subject to the nature of the work, certain business visitors can enter the country to conduct business or trade activity without needing a work permit.

Business visitors to Canada must demonstrate the following:

  • they plan to stay for less than six months,
  • they do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market,
  • the main place of business, and source of income and profits, is outside Canada,
  • they have documents that support their application and
  • they meet Canada’s basic entry requirements because they have a valid travel document, such as a passport; have enough money for their stay and to return home, plan to leave Canada at the end of their visit; and are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians.

There are a number of reasons why one may come to Canada as a business visitor, including:

  • Attending business meetings, conferences, conventions, fairs, etc;
  • Buying Canadian goods or services on behalf of a foreign entity;
  • Taking orders for goods or services;
  • Providing after-sales service, excluding hands-on work in the construction trades;
  • Being trained by a Canadian parent company for work outside of Canada; and
  • Training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company.

Business visitors to Canada may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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