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Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:45 am
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Default Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Apologies if this is a common question but I did a search both online and through these forums and didn't find anything that suited my query.

I'm an 18 year old freelance journalist from the UK, have been doing so for the past 2 years while I studied in College and have since finished my education to work full time as a freelancer. I have a stable position for a company and if it is needed for context I can post my set monthly earnings.

I will be heading to Canada hopefully around June/July to spend some time with my girlfriend, she and I have been in a long distance relationship for just under 2 years, and have spent time visiting each other. I went to Canada over Christmas for just under a month, while she has visited me in the UK multiple times for short 2 week holidays. I have been assured by her parents that I can stay in their home provided I pay rent (which I can easily afford, roughly 1/8th of my monthly earnings at most) I would likely be there for 4/5 months if possible before heading home for Christmas with my family. There is talk of me returning in early 2016 and staying for longer if things work out alright as well. During this time I would be working as a freelancer for my main client. (20 hours a week minimum)

I am wondering how the work visa process works for a freelancers, since I'm not technically 'employed' by anyone. My main client is based in the USA and is a fairly large online publication. Like I said, I had a look online but a lot of the resources were for people who were either already employed, or were going to look for work once in Canada, technically I will be doing neither.

If any more information is needed I am happy to post, I am unexperienced with Visas and what not so some help would be very much appreciated since no one I know has done something like this before either. Thanks.

Apologies for the wall of text, just hoping to provide as much context and information as possible!

Last edited by JoshRaven96; Mar 19th 2015 at 9:45 am. Reason: clarity
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:49 am
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Hi, and welcome to BE.

You can work as long as you're not competing with any Canadians, but it does sound as though you're planning on living in Canada on a visitor visa, which isn't allowed. You may be admitted this time, but if you tried to go back in early 2016 after such a short break in the UK, you may find yourself being refused entry.

Personally, if I were you, I'd get a visa that would allow me to work and stay in Canada so you're a bit more secure there (plus of course, as a visitor you're not eligible for things like healthcare etc).

As an 18 year old, the IEC is an obvious choice, and would give you a 2 year open work permit so you can take on any clients you wish, and come and go freely. The only thing is that the 2015 program is already underway, the 2nd round of visas is about to be released and they go within minutes, so you'll need to be quick!

HTH a bit, best of luck.
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

In fairly simple terms if you are being paid directly or indirectly by a person/business located in Canada and you are in Canada then you would need a work permit.
If doing work over the internet etc and being paid by a client located outside of Canada then usually no work permit is required. If that client is being paid by a Canadian company and the client outside Canada in turn then pays you then you are indirectly being paid by the Canadian client and would need a work permit.
You would need to show CBSA that you intend to leave Canada and have ties to your home country and that you have access to funds to support yourself while in Canada. Don't be surprised if CBSA limit your stay if they don't believe you or you don't supply documentary evidence substantiating your story.
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

The worry is that I would show up in Canada as a visitor and they would discover that I would be working while I was over there and I would be turned down. I don't know if it's true but I read that if you stay for an extended length of time (5/6 months) they can ask to see you bank account to prove you have the finances when you try to enter the country, if they do indeed do that they will see the payments from the company that will indicate I am working.

Would it be of ANY benefit at all if the publication 'vouched' for me? Or will that be redundant since A. I'm not a full time employee, and B. They are not based in Canada?
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Originally Posted by JoshRaven96
The worry is that I would show up in Canada as a visitor and they would discover that I would be working while I was over there and I would be turned down. I don't know if it's true but I read that if you stay for an extended length of time (5/6 months) they can ask to see you bank account to prove you have the finances when you try to enter the country, if they do indeed do that they will see the payments from the company that will indicate I am working.

Would it be of ANY benefit at all if the publication 'vouched' for me? Or will that be redundant since A. I'm not a full time employee, and B. They are not based in Canada?
Did you read our responses above? Why do you think the publication needs to 'vouch' for you or that you'd be in trouble for showing bank statements that show you've got a job?

Yes, you can be asked to show proof of being able to support yourself if trying to enter on a visitor visa, as well as ties to the UK, and if the CBSA officer thinks you're trying to live in Canada then you can be refused entry. That's why I suggested an IEC as a much easier option, what did you think of that idea?

Last edited by christmasoompa; Mar 20th 2015 at 1:38 am.
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 1:36 am
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

On a side note, how did you get a full-time wage as a journalist when you're only 18?! Kudos!
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Old Mar 23rd 2015, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Okay sorry I was away from my PC for a few days so I couldn't reply. I found this listed under 'Jobs that don't require a visa to work in Canada' Gyazo - 87032c241e7260f624b628d2c0387606.png or Find out if you need a work permit to work in Canada and scroll down.

Judging by this it seems like I'd be okay to simply show up with a return flight booked 6 months after my entry date, explain that I'd be living with my girlfriend and be able to tell them that the reason I can afford to go, and have enough money in case it all goes belly up, is because I work as a journalist for a publication based in the USA?
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Old Mar 23rd 2015, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Freelancing and work visas for Canada

Originally Posted by JoshRaven96
Judging by this it seems like I'd be okay to simply show up with a return flight booked 6 months after my entry date, explain that I'd be living with my girlfriend and be able to tell them that the reason I can afford to go, and have enough money in case it all goes belly up, is because I work as a journalist for a publication based in the USA?
Yes, we've told you exactly that above! Are our posts invisible or something?!

As above, you'll need good insurance as you won't be eligible for anything like healthcare on visitor status, and you can't try and 'live' in Canada indefinitely on it either, so do think about what you'll do if you want to stay after the first 6 months (or however long you get given on entry).

You'll also need to show ties to the UK to show you'll be returning there (as FL has said above - in case you're not aware, he's a CBSA officer), as with a Canadian gf the border officer could think you intend to stay permanently and you don't want to risk being refused entry for that reason.

All those things are the reason I'd go on an IEC personally, it's such a cheap and easy visa to apply for but would give you proper status for 2 years so you can have a bit more freedom and aren't just a visitor ineligible for anything. But your call.
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