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Work Permits For Canadians Under NAFTA 2.0 (USMCA) To Take Effect July

The U.S government has cleared the way for its much anticipated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to take effect July 1, 2020. While people are referring to the new USMCA as NAFTA 2.0, there a some differences between the two agreements, but the ability for Canadian citizens to get work permits to the USA remains unchanged.

The last NAFTA work permits regulations between Mexico, Canada and the USA are protected under the new USMCA trilateral agreements.

The NAFTA regulations for Canadian citizens who wish to work in the United States are simplified when compared to traditional work permits, in an effort to promote easier access to the labor markets between the three countries. NAFTA work permits are, mostly known as, Labour Market Impact Assessment exempt.

An LMIA exempt work permits means an employers simply needs to provide a job offer to a prospective candidates, and they do not need to show a citizen of their own country could not be found.

NAFTA Visa Types

NAFTA Professionals:

The NAFTA Professionals class is a popular category for eligible U.S.A and Mexican citizens with required educational qualifications and experience to work in Canada. The eligible occupations list includes a wide range of professions.

NAFTA Intra-Company Transferees:

Eligible applicants from countries around the world may be able to get a work permit under Canada’s Intra-Company Transfer programs.

Work permits given under the NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer category may be granted for an initial entry of up to three years. Individuals authorized to enter Canada as a NAFTA intra-company transferees to open an office or to be employed in a new office are normally issued an initial work permit for a maximum period of one (1) year.

Much like the regular Intra-Company Transfer program (to which any qualified persons from any country may apply), the NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer class is segmented into three categories of workers.


NAFTA Investors:

Eligible NAFTA investors must show that they have made a substantial investment in a new or existing business in  Canada and that they will develop and direct the business. Investors must also shown that they have a controlling stake in the company.

Several criteria are taken into consideration when determining whether an investor is qualified, such as their title, their place within the company’s hierarchy, their job descriptions, and more. NAFTA investors generally do not take part in the company’s hands-on activities.

NAFTA Traders:

A NAFTA trader may be anyone who has the intention and capability to engage in ‘substantial trade’ of goods or services. Substantial trade in this instance means that more than fifty (50) percent of the company’s international trades is done between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.A.

This can either be determined by the value of the transactions, or the volume goods being traded. Numerous transactions, although each may be little in value, might establish the required continuing course of international trade.

While Canadian permanent residents are not qualified for NAFTA/USMCA work permit, they are after they become Canadian citizens, which requires living in Canada for at least three years, in the last five year period.

Eligibility Criteria In Summary:

  • You must be a citizen of Canada, mexico and the USA to be eligible
  • For the professional class, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer for a job position eligible under NAFTA (excluding inter-company transferees)
  • NAFTA Work Permits does not require an LMIA
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