While many of the most common Canadian business immigration options have close US equivalents, there are some options that are uniquely Canadian.

This is intended as informational only. If you have a question about a particular scenario, contact one of our immigration attorneys for guidance.

Francophone Mobility – Mobilité Francophone

To “promote Francophone immigration in Francophone minority communities”, Canada has a special immigration option for French speakers with job offers outside of Quebec. The offered position must be in a managerial, professional, technical, or skilled occupation and applicants must demonstrate French advanced intermediate or higher level abilities in French.

Open Work Permits for Spouses and Common-Law Partners

Like in the United States, Canada allows spouses of international students and skilled workers to accompany their partners. Unlike in the United States, these accompanying spouses are eligible for open work authorization immediately upon entry – no need for post-arrival applications. These work permits are called “open” as they are not job-specific and can be used for professional and non-professional positions. Another notable difference from the United States: unlike L-2 or H-4 EADs, this Canadian benefit is not limited to spouses or those whose relationship is legally recognized in their home countries. It is also available for unmarried partners who have cohabitated for at least one continuous year.

Short-Term Work Permit Exemption

Managers and professionals in occupations that call for a degree may, in some circumstances, qualify for a work permit exemption that allows the performance of hands-on work for up to 30 days. This exemption is narrow, bound by strict time limitations, cooling-off periods, and occupational criteria.

Reciprocal Employment

Canada has a special program for organizations that provide Canadians with employment opportunities abroad.  Employers with Canadian operations who frequently send Canadian employees to subsidiaries outside of Canada or whose non-Canadian offices host Canadian workers from other organizations as part of some kind of reciprocal exchange program can use this path to avoid some time-consuming steps of the standard work permit process. The key to using this path is showing there is a bi-lateral flow of workers in and out of Canada.

IEC Working Holiday

Canada, like many other countries in the world, has a special work permit program for young adults. The Canadian version is “International Experience Canada” and is available to citizens of about 30 countries who are between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 (exact age limit varies by country). It is not a long term solution as permits are subject to a quota and are generally limited to a non-renewable period of 12 months, but might be a good option for some situations.

This is just an overview. If you have a question about a specific case or want to know more about we can help your team take advantage of Canadian immigration options, contact one of our immigration attorneys.