Working in Canada: do I need an eTA or a work permit?
Inclusion policies in the workplace and high quality of life have made Canada a very popular destination to live and work. A business trip to Canada will usually only require an eTA. People wishing to work for a Canadian company or start a business in the country will need to apply for a work permit.
The eTA Canada
The abbreviation eTA stands for “Electronic Travel Authorization”. It is a permit that is required to enter Canada by air. This travel authorization is similar to the ESTA for the United States. The eTA can be applied for entirely online using a simple digital form. After the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Canadian Immigration Service for potential security risks to the country.
The eTA Canada is issued on average within three days, after which the travel authorization is linked to the traveler's passport and shared with the airline and customs authorities, so you don't have to print it out. The eTA is valid for five years from the moment it is granted. During this time an unlimited number of trips of up to 6 months each can be made without the need for a visa.
Business travel and activities allowed with an eTA Canada
In addition to travel for tourist purposes, the eTA is also valid for business travel. For example, you can visit (potential) business partners, attend or organize meetings, trade fairs, or conferences, visit companies, provide training in the Canadian branch of your own company, buy or sell products or services and provide after-sales services. In addition, physical or manual activities of a managerial or university nature may be performed, provided that this is done only once for a maximum of 15 consecutive days per six months or once for a maximum of 30 consecutive days per year.
People of the following professions are allowed to work in Canada with an eTA: guest speakers (for events of up to 5 days), academics (evaluating research projects), athletes and their coaches, artists and their support staff, referees, journalists, and members of a film crew.
For individuals traveling to Canada on business, it is recommended that they bring a letter of invitation written by the business partner and a statement from the employer stating the purposes and length of stay to demonstrate that the above requirements have been met. This invitation letter must contain information such as the traveler's first name, last name, and date of birth; his or her position; the name of the company where he or she works and the relationship between his or her employer and the Canadian company (and person) he or she is visiting; the name, address, website and a brief description of the company (and person) to be visited; a telephone number where the business partner can be reached; a reservation of accommodation in Canada; and a description of how the costs of the trip will be distributed.
Visa, work permit or WHV
The most commonly requested work visas in Canada are the “Work Permit” and the “Working Holiday Visa”, both of which can be applied for online.
Persons who want to work for a Canadian company for longer periods of time or perform physical or manual work in the country must apply for a Work Permit. This visa cannot be applied for until you have found work in Canada and received written confirmation from your Canadian employer. With this type of visa, you also get an eTA, which is automatically granted and does not have to be applied for separately. Young professionals or students who have been offered a job or internship in Canada must apply for an “Employer-specific Work Permit”, a specific permit to work for one company in the same place for the duration of their stay in Canada.
The Working Holiday Program is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to work in Canada to finance a holiday in the country. In this case, it is not necessary to have found a company in advance, and the program can only be used once.
Working in Canada with an eTA, or werken in Canada met een eTA in Dutch, is only possible if you are paid by a company outside Canada or traveling on business for the permitted activities mentioned above.