6 More Tips and Observations for Employers Whose Employees Travel to Canada on Business

In my last post, I offered six observations and tips for when employees travel to Canada on business. Here are six more:

Tip #7 – Additional Supporting Materials

Certain work permit categories require additional documentation such as proof of existing business relationships with a company in Canada or a certain level of educational achievement/work experience.

If your employee is making an application in one of those categories, make sure he or she is travelling with all necessary paperwork. Failing to do so may result in the denial of the application.

Tip #8 – Canada Customs

Coach your employees to be clear and specific at the Canada Customs booth when they first arrive so that they stand the best chance of getting a correct referral into Immigration Secondary if a work permit is required, or, if they do not require a work permit, of getting referred directly into the country without a secondary examination.

For example: When asked by Customs, "What is the purpose of your trip?" The employee should truthfully state, "I am going to internal meetings with our Canadian subsidiary for two days." This gives the person a much better chance of avoiding the Immigration Secondary area than saying, "I am here for business."

It is a good idea to have, and read, the supporting documentation well in advance and to encourage employees to ask about the application and the process at port of entry. This will alleviate possible apprehension about the event, and will allow for a more credible presentation. It also places employees in a better position to advocate on their own behalf if they get an officer who doubts the validity of some or all of the submissions in the support letter after assessing the verbal responses of the applicant to see if there are any inconsistencies between what the employee states are his or her reasons for coming to Canada and what the letter purports. Understanding the process itself allows employees to avoid making mistakes like trying to apply for the permit at the primary inspection line (PIL), or being content to be erroneously admitted into the country at PIL, which eliminates their immediate ability to apply for a work permit without re-presenting themselves at the port of entry. This is particularly problematic if they are arriving via aircraft, and/or are far away from a land border.

Tip #9 – Having a Backup Plan

If a person is determined by Canada Immigration to require a work permit, and has unsuccessfully tried to argue for admission in a work permit exempt category, they might be denied entry to Canada.

It is always sensible to canvass off multiple options with your legal advisor in advance.

For example: Based on the facts, you think that the person should be able to come into Canada as a business visitor, which is a work permit exempt category, but the officer processing the case disagrees. If there is a specific work permit category that the person also fits into, the officer may entertain that and allow entry.

Tip #10 – Misrepresentation

Making any type of misrepresentation at the border, however innocent, can result in denial of entry into Canada, and in some cases, a two-year ban from the country.

There is a misconception among some that not being truthful at the border is not a big deal, but actually, this is equivalent in severity to presenting false evidence before a federal government enforcement officer and lying to a police officer.

No matter how inconvenient, always advise employees to respond to questions posed by customs and immigration officials in a completely honest manner.

Tip #11 – Port of Entry

Use the appropriate port of entry and understand the particulars of each office culture just like Visa Posts.

While this skill is primarily honed by trial and error, it is always a good idea to assess where the best places are to have your employees make their application for entry. Certain ports of entry have a more facilitative culture, or have more experience with business travellers so are more adept at processing those types of cases.

Tip #12 – Entry Refusal

Do not "venue shop" after a negative decision.

If your employee is refused entry at a particular port of entry, a good rule of thumb is not to try the same application again at another location. There are exceptions to this general rule, but usually a negative decision will be entered into the Immigration Computer in the Field Operations Support System (FOSS), and another port of entry will not look kindly on your employee trying to "sneak" into Canada by attempting to circumvent the decision of the first office. It is best to try and resolve things with the first port by discussing the case with the officer concerned, or the supervisor.

The Bottom Line

Port-of-entry processing can be a seamless facilitative venture when an application goes smoothly, but an extremely frustrating, stressful and negative experience if the application goes badly. It can result in your employee being denied entry to the country, or unduly delayed in being issued the appropriate documentation by the Canadian Border Services Agency. We hope that the practical tips advice we’ve provided will assist you in advising your employees on how to make an application and what to expect when that application is handled at the border.

admittance to Canada border processing Canada Customs Canadian Border Services Agency Canadian Consulate Canadian Embassy criminality foreign national employee foreign national service provider FOSS honesty Immigration Computer in the Field Operations Support System immigration medical examination Immigration Secondary international business travel to Canada misrepresentation PIL port-of-entry processing primary inspection line support letter Temporary Resident Permit temporary resident visa work permit work permit exempt

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