Temporary Visas to Canada Back   Home  
The following are the different categories in which you can seek temporary entry into Canada. Some categories let you work in Canada while some dont. The main categories in which these Visas are issued are..

Employment Authorization

Student Authorization

Visitor Visas


Software Pilot Project

Employment Authorization Category   Top

A foreign worker seeking a job in Canada need to have a Employment Authorization(EA) before he/she can start working in Canada. The Canada Employment Centre where the job is located issues this Employment Authorization. EA is issued only where it is found that employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents will not be adversely affected by the admission of foreigners. In many cases, Canadian employer must obtain an employment validation prior to the foreign worker obtaining an employment authorization. Schedule II to the Immigration Regulations explains who need not obtain an EA before working in Canada.

Applications for Work Authorization A foreign worker should obtain the EA abroad before entering Canada. He/She can apply for this to the Visa Officer in their country. However, these people do not require to obtain EA before entering Canada.

  • Permanent Resident / National of United States.
  • Resident of St. Pierre and Miquelon or Greenland.
  • A person engaged in sports activities as a player, manager, trainer, coach or administrative employee of a Canadian-based team.
  • Emergency repairs personnal (conditions apply).
  • Crew of a ship of foreign ownership or foreign registry that is operating in Canadian waters.
  • A person under contract to fulfill a single or continuous guest engagement in the performing arts (conditions apply).
  • A person engaged in employment pursuant to an international agreement between Canada and a foreign country.
  • Research, educational or training program, Canadian religious or charitable organization approved by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration related field employees.
  • A person whose application for employment authorization has been approved in writing by a visa officer but to whom the authorization has not been issued.
  • A person who is seeking to come to Canada for the purpose of establishing a business in Canada.
Other Restrictions An Employment Authorization may impose some or all of the following restrictions to persons seeking entry into Canada under this Category. They are :
  • Prohibited from attending any university, college or other institution and from taking any academic, professional or vocational training.
  • The type of employment in which the person may engage.
  • The employer.
  • The location of the employment.
  • The period of time during which the person may engage or continue in employment.
  • The period during which the person may remain in Canada.
An open employment authorization allows the person named to seek and accept employment and to work for any employer for a specified period of time. An open authorization may, however, restrict the occupation or location.

Live-in caregiver program (LCP) The term "Live-in caregiver" is defined in Immigration Regulations as a person who provides, without supervision, in a private household in Canada in which the person resides, child care, senior home support care or care of the disabled. Based on this definition, such an alien must provide care to children, seniors or the disabled on a live-in basis.

Live-in caregivers will follow the regular steps for temporary workers. Their employers must get the approval of a Canada Employment Centre to hire a foreign worker. The CEC will ensure that no Canadians, permanent residents or other temporary workers already in Canada are qualified and available to take the employer's offer of employment before validating the offer of employment. The clients themselves must apply for employment authorization. Work permit will be granted for 1 year at a time. It will be employer and occupation specific. A new validation required each year or whenever the live-in care giver changes employers. They cannot extend this beyond 3 years. An applicant with 2 years experience as full-time live-in caregiver may apply for an open employment authorization.

Province of Quebec controls its own immigration, the live-in caregiver program is administered differently in that province

Student Authorization Category   Top

Student authorizations allow the person to study while in Canada, but do not themselves grant admission or status. Therefore, the proposed student will also be required to show apply for and obtain visitor status. Student authorizations are required for attending any college or university authorized by statute or charter to confer degrees or for the purpose of taking any academic, vocational or professional training course at any college, university or other institution. However, student authorization is not required if a sole course taken or to be taken is a French or English training course that is 3 months or less in duration. If they continue their course beyond 3 months, then they need to obtain a Student Authorization.

Course Specifications Immigration law states that to issue Student Authorization for a person, it is a must that the course he/she intends to take

  • is at least 6 months duration and at the rate of at least 24 hours of instruction per week.
  • is given at a college/university authorized by statute/charter to confer degrees or any other publicly-funded institution.
  • involves upgrading of skills or language training and it given at an institution that operates under a provincial or federal license.
  • is not from organizations which have shown a history of improper business practices, exploitation of foreign students or other improper conduct.
Requirements to Obtain a Student Authorization In addition to the visitor visa requirements, applications for student authorization must be accompanied by:
  • A letter of acceptance from an institution which meets the requirements of the Immigration Act
  • Sufficient documentation to satisfy the immigration officer that the applicant has sufficient financial resources to
    1. pay his/her tuition fees
    2. financially support his/her transport charges and expenses inluding any dependents in Canada during the period of Student Authorization.
  • Should know either English or French. If he/she fails in this requirement, the applicant should be able to take a course in one of these languages.
Earning while Learning As a general rule, visitors in Canada are not permitted to engage in employment without obtaining an employment authorization. But Immigration Regulations provides that student authorization holders in full-time studies at a local university or college campus do not require an employment authorization to be engaged in on campus employment.

Duration of Student Authorization Student authorizations issued for post-secondary education are issued for the length of the course of study. In the case of secondary education, student authorizations will be issued for a one year period unless the student is a dependent of a person who has been issued long term status in Canada.

Visitor Visa Category   Top

Who is a Visitor? A visitor is defined as a person who is lawfully in Canada, or seeks to come into Canada, for a temporary purpose, other than a person who is a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident. Clearly, a visitor must intend to enter Canada for a temporary purpose. However, Citizenship and Immigration of Canada has a list of countries whose citizens need visas to visit Canada.

Criteria for Visitor Eligibility The criteria for determining whether to issue a visitor visa is as follows:

  • The visa officer must be satisfied that the person seeking admission as a visitor will be able to return to the country from which the he or she is departing, or to some other country. The visa officer will also consider whether the visitor is likely to remain in Canada upon expiration of his or her stay or to engage in unauthorized employment or study.
  • The visa officer verifies if the applicant have (a) have committed criminal offenses, (b) have medical conditions which could pose a danger to the public or would impose a heavy burden on Canada's social benefit programs, (c)pose a danger to national security, (d) have previously been ordered removed from Canada, (e) who cannot comply with the requirements of the Immigration Act or the Immigration Regulations.
  • The visitor must be in possession of a valid travel document or passport.
Required Documentation Supporting documentation requirements will vary from consulate to consulate. However, they all should prove :
  • Purpose of the visit: Applicants could provide correspondence from the applicant's foreign employer, school, friend or relative evidencing the purpose of the applicant's visit to Canada
  • Ability to support oneself: Applicants should provide a job letter, bank statements or other evidence establishing that he/she will be able to pay for all expenses that might be incurred while in Canada and/or an affidavit of support executed by a relative or friend undertaking to assume responsibility for these expenses.
  • Ability to leave Canada: Applicants should present a return airline ticket or at least provide proof of sufficient funds to ensure that the applicant can pay for his or her departure from Canada at the expiration of status.
  • Ties to the home country: Applicants should document all ties to their home country to establish that they have a bona fide intention to return after their temporary visit to Canada. Documentation showing employment abroad, an unabandoned foreign residence, ownership of assets abroad and other proof of family, social or economic ties to the home country will be help to establish the applicant's intention to return.
  • Medical Examinations: Many visitors to Canada require medical examinations in order to determine whether they are inadmissible to Canada because they pose a danger to the public or may impose a heavy burden on social benefits in Canada.
Duration of Visitor Visa: There is no maximum period of time period of time in which a person can remain in visitor status. Nevertheless, after a visitor has been in Canada for six to twelve months, it usually becomes difficult to obtain subsequent extensions. However, this rule of thumb will not apply to a visitor who has obtained either an employment or student authorization.

NAFTA and GATS   Top

NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the agreement between Canada, Mexico and US of A which lets Citizens of the United States and Mexico to seek entry to Canada under special benefits. The nonimmigrant benefits under the NAFTA are organized into four categories: (a) Business Visitors, (b) Intracompany Transferees, (c) Professionals, and (d) Traders & Investors. However, citizens of non-NAFTA countries who are permanently residing or working temporarily in the United States or Mexico are not eligible for benefits under the NAFTA.

What are the Benefits? The benefits NAFTA are:

  • It eases temporary entry for business persons who are citizens of the US, Mexico and Canada and who are involved in the trade of goods or services, or in investment activities.
  • It removes the need for the validation of an offer of employment for all business persons covered by the Agreement.
  • In the case of business visitor, it removes the need for an employment authorization.
  • For professionals and Intra-Company Transferees, it expedites the application process by permitting the issuance of employment authorization at the PE.
However, the following points should be noted regarding NAFTA benefits:
  • NAFTA does not assist permanent admission to Canada for Americans and Mexicans.
  • It does not ease temporary entry into Canada of permanent residents of the US and Mexico.
  • It has no effect on universal requirements including those related to passports and identity documentation, medical examinations and safety and security.
  • It does not replace the general provisions dealing with temporary foreign workers.
  • It does not replace the need for temporary workers to meet licensing or certification requirements respecting the exercise of a profession.
  • It does not extend social privileges to spouses and dependents. Their entry is governed by the general or universal provisions according to the Immigration Act and Regulations.
GATS All the citizens of member countries of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) have additional benefits. There are three categories: business visitors, intra-company transferees and professionals.

Who will Qualify? Citizens of member countries and permanent residents of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland qualify.

What are the Benefits? The following table explains the different categories in GATS benefits and their brief description.
Business Visitors No validation required. Do not need an employment authorization. Visitor record is issued. Mainly for Short term entry to Canada to attend meetings, make contacts or participate in negotiations. Primary source of remuneration must remain outside Canada. Activities must not involve direct sales or service to general public.
Intra-Company Transferes Executives, managers or specialists in qualifying company in a GATS member nation. Valid for 1 year. Extension is available for up to 2 years. 3 years altogether is the maximum allowed in this category. Must have been working for the current employer for at least 1 year immediately prior to applying for entry into Canada. Should be a specialist that have advanced or specialized knowledge that is not readily available in Canada regarding the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques or management. The position must be critical to the well being of the company. Must have Employment Authorization.
Professionals Professionals working in a specialized area of expertise and seeking short term admission (up to 3 month) to Canada to provide a pre-arranged service. Maximum 90 consecutive days in any 12 month period. May receive remuneration from either the Canadian or foreign-based company. Must be delivering a service under a signed contract between companies in Canada and the member country. Must have an Employment Authorization. Must have Copy of a signed contract between the foreign company providing the service and the Canadian entity purchasing it, Documentation detailing the profession and the province of destination, job description, duration of employment, payment arrangements and other education details.

Software Pilot Project   Top

What is this? Due to shortage of software development workers in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in conjunction with Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), Industry Canada (IC), and the Software Human Resources Council (SHRC), have developed a pilot project to test an approach to expedit the validation component of the employment authorization process. It defines seven job descriptions outlining the specific skill requirements relative to software development occupations in shortage in Canada. Applicants should have Bachelors degree (B.A.) or a 2-year post secondary diploma/certification with a computer element. and working proficiency in English and/or French (written and oral). Must have Two (2) years experience designing and implementing real-time software in a high- or low-level language. These job descriptions are:

  • Embedded Systems Software Designer
  • Software Products Developer
  • MIS Software Designer
  • Multimedia Software Developer
  • Senior Animation Effects Editor
  • Software Developer - Services
  • Telecommunications Software Designer
The difference between these job descriptions are the softwares that come under these categories and salary ranges. For detailed list of what software fall under what description, please refer to Canadian Immigration site.