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USMCA: Canadian Work Permits for Citizens of USA and Mexico

Known in Canada as CUSMA, in USA as USMCA, and T-MEC in Mexico, this Agreement comes to replace the famous NAFTA, or North American Free Trade Agreement, which is why many refer to it as NAFTA 2.0.

NAFTA, whose purpose was to facilitate trade and labour movement between the three nations, came into effect in January 1994. Most importantly, the section on immigration and movement of individuals became essentially unchanged.

What’s in it for you? Well, you can definitely benefit from USMCA if you are a citizen of the USA ort Mexico and are considering working in Canada. Let’s look into the provisions of the Agreement in detail.

USMCA facilitates temporary entry to Canada to the following individuals:
     - business visitors
     - professionals
     - intra-company transferees
     - traders and investors.

Business Visitors under USMCA (NAFTA)

Business visitors engage in international business activities related to manufacture and production; marketing and sales; research and design; distribution; after-sales service and general service. Such business visitors can enter Canada without a work permit.

The primary source of remuneration for business visitors must be outside Canada, and business visitors do not enter the Canadian labour market. The primary place of business must also be located outside Canada. Application are made at the port-of-entry (POE) and can’t be made prior to entering Canada.

Typical business activities include participation in educational, professional or business conventions or meetings, consultations, negotiations, discussion, and research. Such visits are usually short-term, and they last from weeks to months.

Professionals under USMCA (NAFTA)

A professional must be a citizen of the USA or Mexico, it must be on the list of over 60 occupations, there must be a pre-arranged employment with a Canadian employer.

Professionals can submit their application at the port-of-entry, at a visa office before entering Canada, and in Canada. This category does not allow self-employment.

Work Permits can be granted for up to three years and extensions can be made up to three years each with no limit on the number of extensions.

Here are a few examples of professions eligible for this work permit: accountant, computer system analyst, economists, interior designers, mathematicians, librarians, engineers, graphic designers etc.

Intra-Company Transferees under USMCA (NAFTA)

You may come to Canada as an intra-company transferee from the USA or Mexico if you are a citizen of the USA or Mexico, if your company and the company in Canada are in a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate relationship.

You must be seeking employment in executive or managerial capacity, or your employment must involve “specialized knowledge.”

In your country of origin, you must have been employed in the position similar to the one you intend to have in Canada.

These work permits can also be issued to individuals seeking to open a new office in Canada on behalf of the parent company in the USA or Mexico.

Applications for intra-company transferee work permits are done at the port-of-entry (POE), at a visa office before departing to Canada, or inside Canada.

Work permits in this category are issued for up to three years. If the new office is opened, the initial work permit is up to one year.
The maximum duration of your stay in Canada under this work permit in the managerial or executive capacity is seven years, and for individuals with “specialized knowledge” up to five years.

Traders under USMCA (NAFTA)

Traders are employed by Mexican or American companies and come to Canada to exchange, purchase, or sell goods and/or services.

Goods are tangible commodities. Possible areas of service may include international banking, insurance, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design, engineering, management consulting and tourism.

The applicant must come in a supervisory, managerial capacity, or his/her work must involve essential skills.

It is recommended that these applications are submitted at the visa office outside Canada or inside Canada. POE applications are discouraged.

The initial work permit is granted for one year, and extensions are granted for up to two years.

Investors under USMCA (NAFTA)

An investors must have made or must be in the process of making a significant investment. The investor’s purpose for coming to Canada is solely to develop and direct an enterprise.

The investor can be an employee, but his/her position must be executive or supervisory or must involve essential skills.
You can apply for investor status both from within Canada and outside at a visa office.

There is no fixed amount of investment, as it depends on the nature of business being opened in Canada. Tentatively, investments should start with at least $50,000.

A work permit in this category is issued for the maximum period of one year with extensions up to two years each.

Why do you need USMCA?

In summary, USMCA (CUSMA) provides significant travel flexibility for citizens of Mexico and the USA to come to work in Canada for an extensive period of time.

We will be happy to advise you on your chances to obtain a Canadian work permit under any of USMCA categories.
Contact us today!


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