NAFTA Work Permits
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American and Mexican citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when applying for a temporary Work Permit in Canada.
Work Permits under the provisions of NAFTA do not usually require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Although LMIA-exempt, workers and employers who use the NAFTA program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada.
Because American and Mexican citizens do not require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada, applications for a NAFTA Work Permit may be done at a Port of Entry (such as a border crossing or airport), or at a Visa office, either online or by paper.
There are various categories of temporary work covered under NAFTA:
- NAFTA Professionals
- NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers
- NAFTA Traders
- NAFTA Investors
A NAFTA Professional must be qualified to work in one of approximately 60 targeted professions. Depending on his or her profession, an applicant may be required to provide educational credentials and/or proof of work experience in the field.
NAFTA Professionals must have pre-arranged employment in Canada in an occupation that matches their qualifications. Individuals who wish to perform self-employed work in Canada are not eligible for this category.
NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers
NAFTA Intra-Company Transferees must be transferred to Canada on a temporary basis in order to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their US or Mexican employer. In addition, they must have worked continuously for their US or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three years in a similar position to the work being done in Canada, and be employed by the company at the time of application.
A NAFTA Intra-Company Transferee must work in a capacity that is considered managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge. For general information on intra-company transferees, including those covered under NAFTA.
A NAFTA Trader must demonstrate an intention to carry out substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and his or her country of citizenship, be it the US or Mexico. “Substantial trade” is when more than 50 percent of the trade is done between Canada and one of these countries, based on either the volume or the value traded.
The employing company must also be of either American or Mexican nationality. It is important to note that an existing trade relationship must already exist between the foreign company and Canada, and that the Trader cannot enter for the purpose of establishing trading contracts or clients. In fact, the Trader must be employed as a supervisor or executive, or have duties that involve essential skills.
A NAFTA Investor must demonstrate that he or she has made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and that he or she is seeking entry to Canada to develop and direct the Canadian business. Work permits in the NAFTA Investor category may also be granted to employees of the primary Investor who can be considered essential staff.
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