U.S. and Mexican citizens can apply for this program to come work or conduct business in Canada if they have a Canadian job offer and will work in an eligible occupation. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) allows workers, traders, and investors to come to Canada without going through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process which takes months.
Eligible U.S. and Mexican citizens can apply for this program to come work or conduct business in Canada.
The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) allows workers, traders, and investors to come to Canada without going through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. Before July 1, 2020, CUSMA was known as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
The CUSMA seeks to liberalize trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and abolish tariffs and other trade barriers. The Agreement opens up the three countries’ markets by ensuring that future laws will not create barriers to doing business.
In order for trade to expand, individuals must have access to each other’s country to sell, provide goods or services or trade and invest. Chapter 16 of the CUSMA, entitled “Temporary Entry for Business Persons”, provides the mechanisms to allow selected categories of temporary workers access to each other’s market(s).
Business persons included in Chapter 16 of the CUSMA are grouped under four categories:
- business visitors;
- intra-company transferees;
- traders and investors.
1. Business visitors engage in international business activities related to research and design; growth, manufacture and production; marketing; sales; distribution; after-sales service; and general service.
Business visitors are authorized to enter Canada for business purposes under R186(a) and can carry out their activities without the need for a work permit.
2. Professionals are business persons who enter to provide pre-arranged professional services— either as a salaried employee of a Canadian enterprise, through a contract between the business person and a Canadian employer, or through a contract between the American or Mexican employer of the business person and a Canadian enterprise. CUSMA lists 63 occupations covered by the Agreement.
Professionals are not subject to an LMIA but require a work permit (R204, T23).
3. Intra-company transferees are employed by an American or Mexican enterprise in a managerial or executive capacity, or in one which involves specialized knowledge, and are being transferred to the Canadian enterprise, parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, to provide services in the same capacity.
Intra-company transferees are exempt from the LMIA process but require a work permit (R204, T24).
4. Traders and investors carry on substantial trade in goods or services between the U.S. or Mexico and Canada or have committed, or are in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital in Canada. Traders and investors must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity or one that involves essential skills.
Traders and investors are not subject to the LMIA process but require a work permit (R204, exemption codes T21 and T22, respectively) for which they must apply at a visa office before departing for Canada.