Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – Business visitors (work permit exempt under R186(a)/R187)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Under CETA, there are two categories of business visitors: short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes.

Officers should initially assess the applicant against the general business visitor (R186(a)) provisions found in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and related Program Delivery Instructions (PDIs). In cases where activities are not covered by IRPR, officers should refer to the business visitor provisions provided in Annex 10-D of CETA, listed below:

Maximum length of stay for CETA business visitors

The maximum length of stay for short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes is 90 days in any six month period, if the applicant does not qualify under R186(a) or R187.

All CETA business visitors may seek entry to Canada for a number of regular visits related to a specific project. These visits may take place over a period of weeks or months. In these circumstances, consideration should be given to issuing a Visitor Record to facilitate entry and to reduce potential referrals to immigration secondary.

Permissible activities for CETA business visitors

Annex 10-D of CETA supports the business visitor category. It provides a list of permissible activities for entry as a business visitor. The list of eligible activities for business visitors is different in CETA than under the NAFTA. For example, it includes categories for meetings and consultations, as well as training seminars. In addition, the description of after-sales service was modified to also include after-lease services.

Note: The activities listed below apply to short-term business visitors from an EU member state entering Canada.

(a) Meetings and consultations: natural persons attending meetings or conferences, or engaged in consultations with business associates;

(b) Research and design: technical, scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be conducting research in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state;

(c) Marketing research: market researchers and analysts conducting research or analysis for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be conducting research or analysis in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state;

(d) Training seminars: personnel of an enterprise who enters the territory of the other country to receive training in techniques and work practices who are employed by companies or organizations in that Party, provided that the training received is confined to observation, familiarization and classroom instruction only;

(e) Trade fairs and exhibitions: personnel attending a trade fair for the purpose of promoting their company or its products or services;

(f) Sales: representatives of a supplier of services or goods taking orders or negotiating the sale of services or goods or entering into agreements to sell services or goods for that supplier, but not delivering goods or supplying services themselves. Short-term business visitors do not engage in making direct sales to the general public;

(g) Purchasing: buyers purchasing goods or services for an enterprise, or management and supervisory personnel, engaging in a commercial transaction carried out in the territory of the other Party;

(h) After-sales or after-lease service: installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors, possessing specialized knowledge essential to a seller's contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform services, pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale or lease of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery, including computer software, purchased or leased from an enterprise located outside the territory of the Party into which temporary entry is sought, throughout the duration of the warranty or service contract;

(i) Commercial transactions: management and supervisory personnel and financial services personnel (including insurers, bankers and investment brokers) engaging in a commercial transaction for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party;

(j) Tourism personnel: tour and travel agents, tour guides or tour operators attending or participating in conventions or accompanying a tour that has begun in the territory of the other Party; and

(k) Translation and interpretation: translators or interpreters performing services as employees of an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be translating or interpreting in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state.

Restrictions on business visitor eligibility under CETA:

Short-term business visitors cannot:

  • engage in selling a good or a service to the general public
  • receive remuneration directly or indirectly from a source in Canada
  • be engaged in the supply of a service, except as provided in Annex 10-D

Business visitors for investment purposes

CETA also includes a provision for the temporary entry of business visitors for investment purposes.

A business visitor for investment purposes is an employee in a managerial or specialist position who is responsible for setting up an enterprise but who does not engage in direct transactions with the general public and will not receive direct or indirect remuneration from a Canadian source.

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