USMCA, CUSMA, T-MEC – A Canadian Visa and Work Permit Perspective (NAFTA 2.0)

The new agreement came into force on July 1, 2020. NAFTA 2.0 has different names:

However, I refer to this agreement as USMCA over this article.

 

The all-new USMCA agreement or rather the United States – Mexico – Canada trade agreement will replace the old North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on July 1, 2020. While USMCA affects many aspects of trade interactions between the three countries, it also deals with the matter of visa and work permit for the citizens of these countries, especially around the labour force. Chapter 16 of the USMCA discusses the following four groups of people.

This article views USMCA from the Canadian visa and work-permit point of view. You may read the following article first for more information about working in Canada without an LMIA.

The IRCC has not released the LMIA exempt codes for USMCA as of now. I will update this article as soon as those codes become available. I have taken some portions of this article from Chapter 16 of the USMCA verbatim.

The term Party, in this article means either the US, Mexico, or Canada. The USMCA agreement affects the citizens of these countries only. It does not affect the permanent residents of these countries.

Business Visitors and USMCA (Section A – Annex 1603)

Under Article 1601, a “business person means a citizen of a Party who is engaged in trade in goods, the provision of services or the conduct of investment activities.” Further to this definition, section 187 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations of Canada (IRPR) defines a business visitor as a foreign national “who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market.” It further categorizes the business visitors to the following groups:

  • foreign nationals purchasing Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government, or receiving training or familiarization in respect of such goods or services;
  • foreign nationals receiving or giving training within a Canadian parent or subsidiary of the corporation that employs them outside Canada, if any production of goods or services that results from the training is incidental; and
  • foreign nationals representing a foreign business or government for the purpose of selling goods for that business or government, if the foreign national is not engaged in making sales to the general public in Canada.

Subsection 187(3) of the IRPA emphasizes the activities must meet the following conditions.

  1. the primary source of remuneration for the business activities is outside Canada; and
  2. the principal place of business and actual place of accrual of profits remain predominately outside Canada.

Under Section A – Annex 1603 of the USMCA, business visitors who are citizens of the United States or Mexico may enter Canada and engage in business activities without authorization. In other words, they do not need a work permit to work in Canada. While this privilege extends to different nationalities under section 186 of the IRPR, the USMCA re-emphasizes the matter for the US and Mexican citizens.

The US business visitors may enter Canada without a visa or an eTA. They only need to have proper documents with them to show to a Border Services Officer their intention to visit and stay in Canada. The Mexican business visitors need to obtain an eTA before flying to Canada. If they are entering Canada at a seaport or land crossing, they do not need an eTA. However, I highly recommend it. If the business visitor, regardless of their nationality, has a criminal history, they need to contact an immigration professional for advice.

Traders and Investors under USMCA (Section B – Annex 1603)

Under Section B – Annex 1603, the US and Mexican citizens are traders or investors if their purpose of the visit is:

  1. carry on substantial trade in goods or services principally between the territory of the Party of which the business person is a citizen and the territory of the Party into which entry is sought, or
  2. establish, develop, administer or provide advice or key technical services to the operation of an investment to which the business person or the business person’s enterprise has committed, or is in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital

Under the old NAFA rule,s Traders and Investors are not exempt from a Work Permit, but they may receive their Work Permit without an LMIA under subsection 204 of the IRPR (the old codes T21 and T22 respectively). I suspect, the same policy will be followed by the IRCC under the new USMCA. I will update this Section as soon as new exemption codes are published.

Intra-company Transferees and USMCA (Section C – Annex 1603)

Under Section C – Annex 1603 of the USMCA, “Each Party shall grant temporary entry and provide confirming documentation to a business person employed by an enterprise who seeks to render services to that enterprise or a subsidiary or affiliate thereof, in a capacity that is managerial, executive or involves specialized knowledge, provided that the business person otherwise complies with the Party’s measures applicable to temporary entry. A Party may require the business person to have been employed continuously by the enterprise for one year within the three years immediately preceding the date of the application for admission.” These conditions are pretty much the same as NAFTA, namely:

  • The company needs to do business both in the US or Mexico and in Canada
  • The intra-company transferee must be in a managerial or executive position, or they need to show specialized knowledge within the company
  • The intra-company transferee must show at least one year of full-time experience with the company in the past three years

Under the current NAFTA (exemption code T24), the intra-company transferee who is the US or Mexican citizen may receive a work permit that is valid for three years.

Professionals under USMCA (Section D – Annex 1603)

Appendix 1603.D.1 of the USMCA offers a list of professionals and their education requirements. The following table is an unofficial list of the job titles without the necessary education or licencing requirements.

Accountant Geochemist Physicist
Agriculturist
(including Agronomist)
Geologist Physiotherapist/Physical
Therapist
Animal
Breeder
Geophysicist Plant
Breeder
Animal
Scientist
Graphic
Designer
Poultry
Scientist
Apiculturist Horticulturist Psychologist
Architect Hotel
Manager
Range
Manager/Range Conservationist
Astronomer Industrial
Designer
Recreational
Therapist
Biochemist Interior
Designer
Registered
Nurse
Biologist Land
Surveyor
Research
Assistant
Chemist Landscape
Architect
Scientific
Technician/Technologist
Computer
Systems Analyst
Lawyer Social
Worker
Dairy
Scientist
Librarian Soil
Scientist
Dentist Management
Consultant
Sylviculturist
Dietitian Mathematician
(including Statistician)
Teacher –
College
Disaster
Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
Medical
Laboratory Technologist
Teacher –
Seminary
Economist Meteorologist Teacher –
University
Engineer Nutritionist Technical
Publications Writer
Entomologist Occupational
Therapist
Urban
Planner (including Geographer)
Epidemiologist Pharmacist Veterinarian
Forester Pharmacologist Vocational
Counsellor
Geneticist Physician
(teaching or research only)
Zoologist

 

The exact job title could be different from the ones listed above. The level of education or licencing could also be necessary. The source of remuneration for the professionals need to be from outside Canada to be considered business visitors. If a Canadian employer is involved with the professional, they may receive a work permit for up to three years. The application may be submitted at a port of entry. The current exemption code under NAFTA is T23, but it could change in the future when the USMCA rolls out.

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

 

Disclaimer:
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

Important Notes:
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have anywhere in this world. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

Related Posts

IRCC accepts 90,000 immigrants from temporary residents in Canada

Apr 15, 2021

Criminality versus serious criminality in immigration to Canada

Apr 13, 2021

Dependent type A B C in immigration to Canada

Apr 11, 2021

Permit vs visa in Canada | work, study, travel, or stay

Mar 25, 2021

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!

Disclaimer:
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

Important Notes:
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

Click to read the disclaimer.

Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

Do you have any questions?