Citizenship & Immigration Canada ("CIC") announced recently that a new ten-year multiple-entry visa will be enacted over the next coming months. Presently, the maximum validity period for a multiple-entry visa is five-years.
The recent change in regulatory policy may be of particular interest to foreign and domestic companies tasked with having foreign workers enter Canada under the business visitor immigration category. With the announcement, foreign and domestic companies involved in long-term, large-scale infrastructure projects and other major industry specific projects, will benefit from a greater amount of flexibility with respect to the transfer of specialized personnel to project sites - or affiliated Canadian companies - across Canada.
The changes allow workers from non-visa exempt countries to apply for a ten-year multiple-entry visa for the purposes of entering Canada as business visitors. Based on the unpredictable nature of long-term, large-scale project work -project managers and human resources professionals will almost certainly attest that managing timelines and accurately forecasting delays is not something of an exact science - having the ability of foreign workers to apply for and subsequently obtain ten-year multiple-entry visas goes a long way in giving a company adequate coverage and assurance that the right people for the job are able to assist and provide specialized support in Canada over the course of the specific project. The multiple-entry visa will allow a foreign worker who has successfully applied for and obtained this status to effectively enjoy the benefits associated with foreign nationals that are nationals of visa-exempt countries. Once the process of obtaining the ten-year multiple-entry status as a visitor has been effected, the foreign worker is technically visa-exempt for the next ten-years.
While the newly introduced ten-year multiple entry-visa should be viewed as beneficial to companies who rely heavily on specialized foreign workers or executive personnel undertaking exploratory business trips to Canada, it is still important to consider the procedure involved with obtaining this status in order to use the potential benefits as effectively as possible. The multiple-entry visa brings to bear its full potential for business visitors only after it is successfully obtained; therefore, adequate preparation with respect to project planning and the creation of candidate pools should be meticulously attended to in order to ensure the company, the project and the individual is utilizing this change in policy to its fullest, most-beneficial extent.