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How Can I Work in Canada Without A Work Permit?

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Business Travel to Canada, Work Permit Exemptions, Canada Work Permits and NAFTA

How Can I Work in Canada Without A Work Permit?

Professionals who want to enter Canada may not need a work permit or LMIA if they qualify as a Professional under the NAFTA Business Visitor After Sales Service category R186(a).

If you need to enter Canada temporarily to provide pre-arranged professional services as a salaried employee of a Canadian company or are contracted by a Canadian employer in one of over 60 occupations covered by NAFTA you can enter Canada as a cross border business professional.

Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah says that Canadian immigration law is flexible to support business needs:

Temporary business visitors to Canada such as highly specialized after-sales and service employees are often qualified to enter Canada without a work permit for cross border business and authorized to work under the NAFTA trade agreement. Few people know about this special business visitor visa. While NAFTA 2.0 has not yet been ratified, we don’t expect this provision to change.

How To Enter Canada under NAFTA R186 (a)

Business visitors who want to enter Canada for after-sales or service work can apply at the airport to a Canada Border Agent. They will need to provide verification of their business visitor application including:

  • letters of support from the business visitor's parent company
  • a letter of invitation from the Canadian host business
  • a verbal statement that the business of the applicant and their source of income is outside Canada
  • supporting documentation such as business cards, business papers, advertising pamphlets

The NAFTA Business Visitor After Sales Service category provision applies to service people who want to enter Canada for after-sales and lease services includes software upgrades to previously sold or leased equipment. A service person coming to Canada to install, configure or give training on upgraded software may be considered a business visitor. A sales or lease agreement or purchase order for upgraded software is considered a new contract for a new product.

A business immigration lawyer can help you determine if your job meets the requirements for NAFTA R186 (a) entry to Canada without a work permit, and assemble the documentation to present to the Border Agent.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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