In order for you to apply for a work permit, your employer may need to apply for an LMIA. In many cases work permits require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), however formerly called a Labor Market Opinion (LMO). There are also work permits which do not require an LMIA in which case your employer may have to apply for an LMIA exemption. There has to be a positive LMIA or LMIA exemption obtained before you can apply for a work permit. Also you might be eligible for an open work permit for which you do not have to obtain a LMIA approval or exemption.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented on January 1, 1994, creating one of the world’s largest free trade zones and laying the foundations for strong economic growth and rising prosperity for Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The goal of NAFTA was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Since then, NAFTA has demonstrated how free trade increases wealth and competitiveness, delivering real benefits to families, farmers, workers, manufacturers, and consumers. American and Mexican business persons and selected categories of workers can temporary enter into Canada under NAFTA.
Applying under the NAFTA program will require you to have a valid work permit to enter into Canada, but you will not need HRSDC approval. NAFTA is only a temporary entry into Canada and if you are seeking a Permanent Residence or received a permanent job in Canada, please complete our assessment form and we will book you a free consultation to discus your options.
Please check descriptions below to understand your needs better and see if you might qualify for NAFTA category.
If you are an American or Mexican citizen and would like to enter Canada for temporary work, you need to know the following;
You require a work permit to enter the Canadian labour market, unless you are a Business Visitor. NAFTA facilitates the process of obtaining a work permit for individuals who qualify under one of the following categories:
- Intra-company Transferees
Professionals (TN Visa):
In order to apply under this category you must have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer. The position offered must be a skilled occupation and be one of the 63 approved Professions.
Professionals with documentation to support their application can apply immediately for a temporary work permit. They can apply at any Canadian Visa Office or at a Canadian Port of Entry.
You may apply for your work permit in advance at any Canadian Visa Office or you may apply at a Canadian Port of Entry. If you are in Canada as a Visitor, a work permit application can be filed within Canada.
Transferees should be prepared with the required supporting documents to apply for a work permit. The applicant should have a minimum of one year work experience in the last three years within the company. The occupation should be executive or have specialized knowledge. Also, you will be required to show Proof of relationship of Canadian and American/Mexican company.
Work permits for Transferees will be valid for at most three years. Transferees entering Canada to open or work in a new office will be granted permits valid for up to one year. You can apply for an extension which may be granted for up to two years at a time. In some cases, permits can be granted for up to seven years in total.
You can apply for a work permit as a NAFTA Trader if you are an American or Mexican citizen. The company in Canada to which you are coming has American or Mexican nationality. The Canadian company engages in trade of goods or services. Trade is between USA/Mexico and Canada. You will be working in a managerial or executive capacity.
You will be working to provide essential skills and services.
Please note that this process has a complex nature and it is advised that you properly prepare the documentation and apply at a Canadian Visa Office before you travel to Canada. The work permits for Traders are usually valid for up to one year and can be extended for up to two years.
You may apply for a work permit as a NAFTA Investor if you are an American or Mexican citizen, you are planning to invest or have already made an investment in a company in Canada, and the company has American or Mexican nationality. This process is very sensitive and complicated and we recommend to get advice before making your application. We always recommend to apply at a visa office before travelling to Canada. The work permits are granted for up to one year and could be extended for up to two years.
If you are a foreign national who works for a company and need to be transferred within a company or organization to a Canadian branch, you can apply as Intra-Company transferees. You can apply at a visa office or at a Port of Entry in certain cases. If you are already in Canada as a visitor, a work permit application can be submitted within Canada. Transferees should provide all the necessary documentation when applying for a work permit.
Work permits for Transferees will be valid for at most three years. Transferees entering Canada to open a new office or work in a new office will be granted work permits for up to one year and extensions can be granted for up to two year at a time. In certain cases, permits can be granted for up to seven years. To find out more, please contact us and our experts will assess your case.
HRSDC Exemptions are granted in cases where the social, cultural or economic benefits to Canada of the work are clear and compelling. The approval of foreign workers on a temporary basis is deemed to be of significant benefit to Canada. In these cases, it does not require an HRSDC job offer confirmation:
- International Agreements
- Intra-company transferees
- Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates
- Emergency repair personnel
- Persons hired under reciprocal employment for a Canadian in a foreign company including Academic Exchanges
- Charitable or religious work