The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) came in to effect on January 1, 1995. It sets out the benefits and obligations of more than 120 member countries regarding trade in services.

GATS make it easier and are a faster procedure for business persons to establish a business in Canada, and to work in Canada on a temporary basis.   It facilitates entry of applicants without requiring validation of their employment authorization.

The GATS divides business persons into three categories: business visitors, intra-company transferees and professionals. In each case, specific requirements apply. However, five general requirements apply to all three categories.

  1. You must be a citizen of, and be living in, a member country. You may also qualify if you are a permanent resident of a member nation that has given formal notification that its permanent residents have the same rights as its citizens do. To date, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have given notification. Therefore, if you are a permanent resident of Australia, New Zealand or Switzerland, you may qualify for entry under the GATS.
  2. You must work in one of the following service sectors:
        • Business
        • Communications
        • Construction
        • Distribution
        • Environment
        • Finance
        • Tourism and travel
        • Transport and a host of other occupations on the list of the occupational services in each of these sectors.
  1. You must qualify in one of three categories of business persons as defined in the GATS: business visitor, intra-company transferee or professional. These categories are discussed in Section 2.
  2. You must be seeking temporary entry only. This means that you have no intention of remaining in Canada permanently. Your status will be that of “visitor”. If you wish to remain permanently, you must apply from outside Canada and go through the normal immigration procedures for permanent residence.
  3. The provisions of the Immigration Act and Regulations remain in effect with respect to visitor visa, passports and identification requirements, and to the protection of public health, safety and national security

To find out if you qualify to come to Canada under GATS,
please contact us