NAFTA Professional Work Permits for IT Workers

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provides for a streamlined work permit process for citizens of the United States and Mexico who wish to temporarily work in Canada. The NAFTA work permits differ from other kinds of work permits in two key respects:

  • The NAFTA work permits are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement. This is a process whereby employers prove that they have attempted to fill a position locally before hiring a foreign worker. The LMIA requirement can add processing time to an application, and the waiver is therefore an attractive incentive to NAFTA work permit applicants.
  • Citizens of the United States and Mexico do not require temporary resident visas in order to travel to Canada. Therefore they can apply for their NAFTA work permits at a port of entry, such as an airport or road border crossing. This eliminates what is frequently a lengthy work permit application processing time.

Information technology professionals can benefit from the NAFTA Professionals work permit category. Two IT occupations, Computer Systems Analyst and Graphic Designer, appear in the list of occupations eligible for this category.

The rapidly evolving field of IT/technology means that Canadian employers are frequently unable to find the skills they need from the local pool of job seekers. Due to the nature of information technology, positions often have to be filled quickly. The speed with which NAFTA work permits can be issued makes this a sought after method for Canadian businesses to take care of their technology needs.

It should be noted that while your NAFTA work permit application can be processed quickly, you may be required to show the immigration officer evidence of your education, training and/or work experience in the field you are applying for. Once you are in Canada, you will have to follow the usual terms and conditions that apply to foreign workers in Canada.

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