Citizens of the United States and Mexico have unique advantages in Canadian immigration. This is thanks to NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement. Signed in 1994, this agreement improves trade between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Interestingly, it also eases the transfer of professional individuals between the 3 countries. Keep reading to learn how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity.
NAFTA eases migration by making work permits easier to obtain. NAFTA facilitates work authorization in Canada by lifting the requirements for LMIAs. LMIAs (Labour Market Impact Assessment) are estimates of a foreign employee’s impact in Canada. To learn more about LMIAs and what companies expect of foreign employees you can read this article.
Of course, NAFTA does not waive LMIA requirements for everyone. In fact, there is a specific list of professions that qualify under NAFTA. Luckily, you can find the list of NAFTA professions here. Note that educational/certification requirements for each profession are also listed. Additionally, applicants may need to display some of these specific skills:
Among these skills is executive capacity. Applicants must direct the management of an organization or at least a major function of it. The must establish goals and policies within the organization or a part thereof. Additionally, they must receive only general supervision from higher level executives, stockholders, or the board of directors. Another skill is managerial capacity. This requires the authority to hire and fire, as well as promote and delegate other personnel.
Lastly, individuals must hold specialized knowledge. Basically, this means that you have company-specific expertise concerning products or services that other companies cannot duplicate. Additionally, it means that you have significant and recent experience within the organization and contributed significantly to the employer’s productivity.
How NAFTA Work Permits Function
NAFTA offers 5 situations in which work authorization would be facilitated for American or Mexican citizens. These programs are called: NAFTA Professionals, Intra-Company Transfers, Investors, Traders, and Business Visitors. Luckily, we will explain the requirements of each. In every case it is required that applicants have Mexican or American citizenship. If successful, applicants can enjoy the many benefits of working in Canada.
NAFTA Professionals – In order to qualify for LMIA exception under this program, applicants’ professions must fall under the NAFTA professions list. Additionally, pre-arranged employment in Canada is necessary. There are a few ways to apply for this program. First, at a Canadian Port of Entry, or a Canadian visa office before entering the country. If the applicant is already inside Canada, they may apply within the country.
NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers – This program allows applicants to transfer from within their company to another in Canada. Also, they will be exempt from an LMIA, though applicants will need a Canadian work permit regardless. Candidates must be well-established in their enterprise and be seeking Canadian employment in an executive or managerial position, or one that requires specialized knowledge. Applicants must provide extensive proof of current employment and arranged work in Canada.
NAFTA Investors – This program is open only to people in executive, supervisory, or essential skill-requiring positions. Alternatively, they can be the owner of their own company. Additionally, their enterprise must be Mexican or American. Further, they must demonstrate that they are making a significant investment in Canada. Candidates should apply in advance at a Canadian visa office.
NAFTA Traders – Those involved in significant trade of goods or services between Canada and the United States or Mexico can apply for LMIA exemption through this program. First, they must be based outside of Canada. Additionally, they must apply at a Canadian visa office in advance. Applying at a Port of Entry is possible, though strongly discouraged in this case.
NAFTA Business Visitors – This program allows certain businesspeople to enter Canada on international business without a work permit nor an LMIA. Said visitors must conduct their main business in Mexico or the United States. However, these visitors may not have the intention of entering the Canadian workforce. Additionally, business visitors may only apply at Canadian Ports of Entry. Thus, they may not apply in advance.
Using Your NAFTA Benefits
At Gentium Immigration we are committed to helping you find the best path to Canada. We can help you begin the process if you think that you are eligible for these NAFTA advantages. Additionally, we can help you find another option if you are ineligible for the programs in this article. Book an appointment with one of our consultors today to begin your journey. We hope to hear from you soon!