Working in Canada

Are you a citizen of the United States or Mexico who’s been wanting to come to Canada for temporary work? Are you an American or Mexican national with a job offer from a Canadian company but not certain about the sort of documentation required to legally work in Canada? Or are you just not sure if you meet the necessary requirements to enter Canada legally as a worker? If so, continue reading this blog for further assistance and information on this immigration matter.

NAFTA Work Permit

Foreign nationals generally require work permits to legally work in Canada. Furthermore, any Canadian company that wants to hire a foreign worker will need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) approved by the Employment and Social Development Canada. If approved, the foreign worker can then given the job offer and use it to apply for a work permit. However, in some cases, an LMIA may not be required.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. One of the many IMPs is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which allows American and Mexican citizens to gain legal entry into Canada for work.

Origin of NAFTA

A NAFTA work permit application dates back to the North American Free Trade Agreement first established in 1994, which was decided between Canada, US, and Mexico as a national point of contact. This application serves to provide US and Mexican citizen’s a less difficult route when it comes to obtaining their Canadian work visa permit. This not only allowed but also promoted a much stronger relationship between the three countries.

Who Qualifies for a NAFTA Work Permit

To qualify, the temporary worker must fall under one of the following categories of groups:

· NAFTA Business visitors;

· NAFTA Professionals;

· NAFTA Intra-company Transferees; and,

· NAFTA Traders and Investors.

NAFTA Business Visitors

Under the IMP, business visitors from Mexico and the United States do not require a work permit. To qualify as a business visitor under the NAFTA, you must be visiting Canada to engage in international business activities without entering into Canada’s labour market. Examples of qualifying business activities include marketing, sales and distribution or research. Business visitors may enter into Canada to conduct business activities for a few days or weeks but can stay in Canada for up to six months.

NAFTA Professionals

NAFTA professionals require a work permit. To qualify, you must work in a qualifying job such as an accountant, computer systems analyst or engineer. You must also have a job offer from a Canadian business in your field of profession.

NAFTA Intra-company Transferees

NAFTA intra-company transferees are individuals who work for the same company, but in a different country. For example, a U.S. based company with an affiliate company in Canada can transfer an employee from the U.S. company to work in its Canadian location under the NAFTA. To qualify, among other requirements, the employee must have worked on an ongoing basis with the company for at least one year in the last three years, and for the same or related employer in the US or Mexico. If the employee meets the necessary requirements, they can apply for a work permit.

NAFTA Traders and Investors

NAFTA traders and investors require a work permit to work in Canada. To qualify under this category, you must be involved in trading goods or services between Canada and your country of origin. Your role must be either supervisory or an executive function relating to the planning of these activities. There are also additional requirements under the Agreement that the individual must meet.

Application Process

Before applying for your NAFTA work permit application, every candidate must first be able to present a valid Canadian employment offer. Once you send a thorough and complete application, the Canadian Case Processing Centre will send you either a stamp of approval such as your work permit, a letter of rejection, or a notification that your application may require further assessment. Due to the fact that neither US or Mexican citizen applicants require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada, this application can be done at a Port of Entry, Visa office, or online. Although it is recommended to first start and follow this application up with an immigration expert, due to how tedious and tricky the necessities for those applying may be.


NAFTA work permit candidates are not easily granted but it does boost even the average North American citizen seeking employment further up north. It is a complex process, as every applicant must keep an eye out for the policies. But even the most confident of applicants can get denied. This includes both US and Mexican citizens. Applicants must carefully draft and prepare all documents being forwarded and used in order to help them acquire their visa. US citizens are not just granted a guarantee of acceptance.

An applicant that undergoes the NAFTA process is allowed temporary entry due to their business interests within Canada. Although neither US or Mexican citizens require a temporary resident visa, they must respect the duration of their stay granted to them, and all other restrictions that is applicable to their authorized stay.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you have been seeking assistance with your NAFTA work permit application, what we can do for you in this process is ease the stress. Our qualified and trained representatives are in constant watch over the ever-changing visa policies, and we are always aiming to find the best possible routes to suit our clients. Getting into Canada is not easy; let alone acquiring a Canadian work visa permit. However, by helping our clients present a feasible and credible case, this increases their chances getting into the country, and bringing their sought after skills to help our economy. If you have any further questions or would simply like to discuss your own unique immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 416-477-2545 requesting a consultation. Here at Akrami and Associates we enjoy helping our clients through even the toughest immigration matter, as there’s always a way! So let us help you too.