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15/30 Day Work Permit Exemption

Background ~ The general rule is that no person, other than a citizen or permanent resident, can work in Canada without work authorization. As such, Regulation 187(a) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) sets out the general definition of a Business Visitor as a foreign national who “seeks to engage in international business activities without directly entering the labour market”. However, as part of its Global Skills Strategy unveiling, the Government of Canada has introduced an exemption to this rule.

15/30 Day Work Permit Exemption ~ A 15 or 30 consecutive day Work Permit exemption is available to highly skilled workers, provided their position is captured under skill type “0” (executive, managerial) or skill level “A” (professional) in the government’s National Occupational Classification (‘NOC’). The NOC sets out position titles and duties and their associated educational, skill and experience requirements. As such, regardless of nationality, qualifying workers on qualifying assignments can work in Canada without a Work Permit.

Short Assignments ~ Under the exemption, temporary workers are permitted to work without a Work Permit for:

  • up to 15 consecutive days, once every six months, or

  • up to 30 consecutive days, once every 12 months.

After using the short-term exemption, workers must wait:

  • 6 months until they can use the 15-day exemption again; or

  • 12 months until they can use the 30-day exemption again.

In my experience, if workers are in Canada for less than the maximum 15 or 30 days respectively, they forfeit the remaining days.

Preparation~ My office typically helps employers prepare a letter for the applicant to present at the Port of Entry upon entry to Canada, but the exemption can also be requested in the context of the Temporary Resident Visa application. Either way, the company letter should set out the basis for admission, outline the applicant’s qualification and describe the assignment duties. We typically further document that applicant’s professional or managerial credentials and responsibilities and the short-term nature of the assignment. As some IRCC and CBSA Officers are not familiar with the exemption we also include a government issued announcement about it.

This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.


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