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How To Move To Canada Under CUSMA

Eligible U.S. and Mexican citizens can bypass some of the formalities or paper works to come work or conduct business in Canada.

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) allows skilled workers, traders, and investors to come to Canada without going through the normal Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. Before 1st of July, 2020, CUSMA was known as NAFTA or (North American Free Trade Agreement).

CUSMA work permit candidates who are arriving directly from the Unites States can apply at a port of entry (POE), unless they are CUSMA Investors.

There are basically four types of CUSMA categories in total:

  • CUSMA Professionals;
  •       ”        Intra-Company Transfers;
  •       ”        Traders; and
  •       ”        Investors.

Each category has its own unique eligibility criteria.

CUSMA Professionals

Under this category, applicants need to have a pre-arranged job offer, or a contract in Canada in one of the targeted professions. There are sixty (63) eligible occupations in the fields of education, medicine, science and others.

Depending on the professions, applicants need to provide proof of work experience and educational credentials in their field. This category is not for individuals who want to do self-employed work in Canada.

Canada also allows Professionals to come as business visitors, as long as they are not entering the labor market, but looking for business, consulting, providing advice and meeting with clients.

Work permits under this category can be given for up to three years at a time. They can then be extended for up to three years for an unlimited number of times, provided professionals meets all the requirements.

But, border officers must be satisfied that the employment is still temporary, and that applicants are not using CUSMA entry to bypass normal immigration procedures.

CUSMA Intra-Company Transfers

Workers from the U.S and Mexico who are transferring to a Canadian branch of their company may be qualified for an Intra-Company Transfer under the new agreement.

The transfer have to be for temporary work in Canada. Eligible candidates need to have prior work experience with a U.S. or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three (3) years in a position related to the one they are taking in Canada. They must also be employed by the company at the time of the application.

Their position must be executive, managerial or involving specialized knowledge.

CUSMA Traders

CUSMA Traders must be coming to Canada to carry out high volume trade of goods or services between Canada and the United States or Mexico.

Canada considers it a “substantial trade” when more than fifty (50) per cent of the trade is done between Canada and one of the other member countries. The fifty (50) per cent can be comprised of either the volume or the value of the trade.

CUSMA Investors

Investors under this category must make a substantial or high volume investment in a new or existing Canadian business, and that they are coming to Canada to develop and manage the business. Work permits in the CUSMA Investor category may also be granted to the senior staff of the company.

Moving to Canada through CUSMA with travel restrictions in place

Their job offer must be at a business organization that is still operating or functioning, the Canadian Border Services Agency said in a media briefing.

People who are applying for the CUSMA work permit from any other country have to make an application for a permit and receive authorizations to travel from IRCC. Otherwise, these people will not be allowed to travel, and not be able to apply for the CUSMA work permit at a POE.

In addition, all foreign citizens who wish to come to Canada for work have to be traveling for an essential reason. CUSMA Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees working in critical sectors will continue to be allowed entry into Canada, and may be exempt from mandatory fourteen (14) days quarantine if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

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