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Athletes, Artists, Competition and Entertainment Visas

There are approximately sixty (60) different work permit exempt, visitor and work permit application options for athletes, artists or persons entering Canada for competitions or entertainment industry purposes.  Some of these options required Labour Market Opinion Assessment (LMIA) based work permits and other options allow for entry as visitors.  Some of them are based on the time required in Canada.  Other options are based on reciprocity with organizations abroad or international competitiveness with other countries. Entry options can also depend on the age of the applicants, type of activity performed, Canadian unions and/or Canadian business involvement. Applicants and organization must ensure that the entry is based on the correct category, as otherwise, sanctions, penalties and even jail terms can apply to non-compliant officers of corporations and a denial of entry for the artist/athlete. Canada’s immigration regulations and policy in this area is complex. Unfortunately, Canada’s immigration website is often inadequate in addressing even some of the most basic entertainment industry questions about work permit requirements.