Facilitating the legal admission of professionals, business persons, and skilled workers

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

 

Canadian work permits issued under the General Agreement on Trade in Services are comprised of three categories:

1. Business Visitors to Canada (GATS);
2. Intra-Company Transferees;
3. Professionals.

Foreign workers who meet the requirements of these provisions may eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without the requirement of HRSDC Confirmation of the job offer. Applicants may seek a work permit under this category either at a Canadian visa office, or at a port of entry for those who are exempt from the requirement of a passport visa.

Business Visitors

Although GATS Business Visitors fall under section 204 of the Regulations, defined as a work permit, these cases will be addressed by Canadian immigration officials under those provisions governing Business Visitors (R186) as a matter of policy. This has the advantage that HRSDC Confirmation and a work permit does not have to be sought by the applicant. However, the disadvantage is that initial Business Visitor visas are limited to six months (extensions of up to one year are possible), and certain benefits of a Canadian work permit are not earned.

Please see the provisions of Canadian Business Visitor (R186) for more information on applying in this category.

Intra-Company Transferees

These provisions apply in those cases in which an executive, managerial, or specialist employee of a company seeks to transfer to a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate to work in the same capacity. Under these provisions, the individual is required to have been employed by that organization for a period of no less than one year prior to the submission of the application.

The provisions of Significant Benefit to Canada contain very similar guidelines, and allow for employment of one year in the three years prior to the application. For these reasons, Canadian immigration policy refers applicants under this GATS category to the provisions of Significant Benefit to Canada, and officials will consider those cases accordingly.

Please refer to section C12 of Significant Benefit to Canada for more details on transferring from a foreign division of a company to a Canadian division.

Professionals

A GATS Professional is a person who seeks to engage, as part of a short-term services contract obtained by a company in another Member Nation, in an activity at a professional level in a designated profession, provided that the person possesses the necessary academic credentials and professional qualifications, which have been duly recognized, where appropriate, by the professional association in Canada. The individual must be a citizen of, and/or resident in, a GATS member nation. The location at which the individual is remunerated is not a factor.

Applicants in this category must fall within the definition of an eligible occupation, and are limited to contracts between a foreign service provider and a Canadian consumer. Visas can be sought for a maximum of 90 days, and can not be renewed by extension within Canada. Those who are eligible are not required to obtain HRSDC Confirmation of the job offer in advance, and may apply at a Canadian visa office, or at a port of entry for those who are exempt from the requirement of a passport visa.

The following are the eligible occupations under the GATS Professional category and the requirements of eligibility:

Group 1

Occupation

Minimum Educational Requirements

Other Requirements

Engineer

Baccalaureate degree

Provincial licence

Agrologist

Baccalaureate degree in agriculture or related science plus four years of related experience

 

Licensing required in New Brunswick, Alberta & Quebec. Temporary licensing required in British Columbia

Architect

Baccalaureate degree in architecture

 

Provincial licence and certificate required to practice

 

Forestry Professional

Baccalaureate degree in forestry management or forestry engineering, or a provincial licence

 

Licensing as a forester or forestry engineer is required in Alberta, British Columbia & Quebec

 

Geomatics Professional

Baccalaureate degree in surveying, geography or environmental sciences plus three years related experience.

 

None

Land Surveyor

Baccalaureate degree

Provincial licence

Group 2


Foreign Legal Consultant


Baccalaureate degree in law


Provincial licence;
Employer in Canada must be engaged in substantive business;
Foreign service provider may not have a commercial presence in Canada.

Urban Planner

Baccalaureate degree in urban planning

Provincial licence;
Employer in Canada must be engaged in substantive business;
Foreign service provider may not have a commercial presence in Canada.

Senior Computer Specialist

Graduate degree in computer sciences or related discipline and ten years experience in computer sciences.

 

A limit of ten entrants is imposed;
Employer in Canada must be engaged in substantive business;
Foreign service provider may not have a commercial presence in Canada.

1 Baccalaureate means a degree from an accredited academic institution in Canada or equivalent.
2 Provincial licence means any document issued by a provincial government or under its authority which permits a person to engage in a regulated activity or profession.
3 Geomatics Professionals must be working in aerial surveying or aerial photography.
4 Graduate degree means at least a Master's degree from an accredited academic institution in Canada or equivalent. Academic equivalencies will be determined by the relevant equivalency services in Canada.

 

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