NAFTA Work Permit and Qualification Criteria - Immigration Blog about US & Canadian Immigration matters.

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA
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Do I Need a Work Permit for Canada

What is NAFTA?

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a Free Trade Agreement between Canada, U.S. and Mexico entered into with the intention to liberalize trade between the countries. NAFTA deals with temporary entry to selected business persons who are citizens of Canada, U.S. or Mexico and who are involved in trade or business or investment activities. NAFTA eliminates the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for business persons and Work Permit for professionals and Intra-company transferees.

What does NAFTA not do?

  • NAFTA does not assist with permanent admission

  • It does not replace the general provisions dealing with Foreign workers

  • It has no effect on the universal requirements related to passport and identification documents and other health, safety and security requirements

  • It does not replace the licensing and certification requirements in respect of exercise of a profession

  • It grants to special privileges to spouses and members of the family

Who is covered under NAFTA?

The Temporary Entry under NAFTA is provided to the citizens of Canada, U.S. and Mexico. It is not available to the Permanent Residents of these three countries. They are governed by the general provisions for Temporary Entry of Foreign Workers.

In case of U.S. Citizens, the citizens of Guam, Northern Mariana Island, American Samoa Island and the U.S. Virgin Island are excludes from Temporary Entry under NAFTA.

Business persons covered under NAFTA are categorized into four categories:

  • Business Visitors

  • Professionals

  • Intra-Company Transferees

  • Traders and Investors

Business Visitors in Canada

Business Visitors enter in relation for international business activities relating to growth, research & development, manufacture, marketing, sales, distribution after-sales services and general services relating to their business.

For Business Visitors, the essential requirements that apply are:

  • the person is a citizen of the U.S. or Mexico

  • business activities include growth, research & development, manufacture, marketing, sales, distribution after-sales services and general services relating to their business

  • business activities are international in scope

  • the person has no intent to enter the Canadian labour market

  • the primary source of remuneration remains outside Canada

  • the principal place of business remains outside Canada

  • compliance with existing immigration/ admissibility requirements for temporary entry

A Business Visitor to Canada must provide the following Documentation:

  • proof of American or Mexican citizenship
  • documentation to support the purpose for entry
  • evidence that the business activity is international in scope and that the person is not attempting to enter the Canadian labour market

The business person can satisfy these requirements by demonstrating that:

  • the primary source of remuneration is outside Canada
  • the person’s place of business remains outside Canada and the profits of the business are accumulated primarily outside Canada

Who are considered Business Professionals in Canada?

Professionals are business persons who enter to provide pre- arranged professional services, either as salaried employee of a Canadian enterprise, through a contract between the person and a Canadian enterprise or through a contract between an American or Mexican enterprise and a Canadian enterprise. Professionals do not require LMIA but do require a work permit.

For a professional to work in Canada, the person must:

  • be qualified to work in one of the jobs set out in NAFTA (for example accountant, computer systems analyst or engineer)
  • have a job offer from a Canadian Business in that field
  • have a work permit

A professional must present the following documents in support of his application:

1. proof of American or Mexican citizenship

2. confirmation of pre-arranged employment provided by:

  • a signed contract with a Canadian enterprise, or
  • evidence of an offer of employment from a Canadian employer, or
  • a letter from the American or Mexican employer on whose behalf the service will be provided to the Canadian enterprise

3. documentation which provides the following information:

  • the proposed employer in Canada
  • the profession for which entry is sough
  • details of the position (title, duties, duration of employment, arrangements as to payment
  • the educational qualifications or alternative credentials required for the position; and evidence that the person has at least the minimum education requirements and alternative credentials (copies of degrees, diplomas, professional licenses, accreditation or registration, etc).

Who Qualifies as Intra-Company Transferees?

Intra-Company Transferees are employed by an American or Mexican enterprise in a managerial or executive capacity, or in one which involves specialized knowledge and are being transferred to the Canadian enterprises, parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate, to provide services in the same capacity. Intra- Company transferees are exempt from LMIA but they do require Canadian work permit.

An Intra-Company Transferee Must:

  • have worked on an ongoing basis, for at least one year in the last three years, for the same or a related employer in the United States or Mexico

  • be transferred to Canada to work short term for the same or a related employer

  • work as a manager, as an executive or in a job that uses specialized knowledge

  • have a work permit

The documents an intra-company transferee must present along with his application:

  • proof of American or Mexican citizenship
  • confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by the enterprise outside of Canada
  • confirmation that the person has been employed continuously outside of Canada by the enterprise for one year (full-time) within the three-year period immediately preceding the initial date of application
  • outline of the applicant’s current position in an executive, or managerial capacity or one involving specialized knowledge, i.e., position, title, place in the organization, job description
  • in the case of “specialized knowledge”, evidence that the person has such knowledge and that the position in Canada requires such knowledge
  • outline of the position in Canada, i.e., position, title, place in the organization, job description
  • indication of intended duration of stay
  • description of the relationship between the enterprise in Canada and the enterprise in the U.S. or Mexico

Traders & Investors Qualification in Canada

Traders and investors carry on substantial trade in goods or services between the U.S. or Mexico and Canada or have committed or are in the process of committing a substantial amount of Capital in Canada. Traders and investors must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity or one that involves essential skills. Traders and investors are exempt from LMIA but they do require work permit.

To work in Canada as a trader or an investor, a person must:

  • be involved in planning, as a supervisor or executive, or in a role that involves essential skills

  • a large amount of trade in goods or services, mainly between Canada and the home country

  • a large investment in Canada by you or your company

  • meet any other rules of NAFTA and

  • have a work permit


NAFTA deals with temporary entry visa between Canada, U.S and Mexico. It is available only to the citizens of these countries and not Permanent Residents. NAFTA eliminates the need for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and Work Permit for business persons. Business Persons are categorised into four groups i.e. business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees and traders & investors. NAFTA does not assist in permanent residency visas. For a temporary residence visa under NAFTA, it is important to demonstrate that the person’s place of business and source of remuneration is outside Canada and that you have sufficient ties such as job, home, family and financial assets to take the person back to his home country.

What can Akrami & Associates do for you?

At Akrami & Associates, we have filed hundreds of applications for NAFTA Work Permits and have successfully helped our clients get business visitor visas. We have helped our clients in difficult situations with their applications. We not only file the applications and documents for our clients, but also guide them through the entire process at every step. We can help you too. Whether you have a question, or are looking to book a consultation in person or over the phone with one of our representatives, feel free to give us a call today at 416-477-2545 or toll free at 1-877-820-7121.

If you are looking to file the application on your own, we can still help you with our Do It Yourself Immigration Kit which you can purchase from us. The kit details the process for you and provides you step by step guidance. We do not leave you at that. If you buy the Do It Yourself Kit bundle, you get consultation and a final review of your application by one of our representatives.

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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