The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes provision for workers from the United States and Mexico to apply for work permits without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Although individuals coming in on a NAFTA work permits have to abide by the usual terms and conditions that govern temporary foreign workers, the application process is quick and streamlined. The fact that citizens of the United States and Mexico can travel to Canada without a temporary resident visa means that they can apply for their NAFTA work permit at a port of entry, such as an airport or a road border crossing. Applications can also be made online, or in person at a visa office.
Work categories for which you can apply for a NAFTA work permit include the following:
- NAFTA professionals: This category is open to professionals who have arranged for employment in Canada in one of the eligible professions. The applicant may have to demonstrate that they have the skills, education and experience needed for the job. This is not open to self-employed individuals.
- NAFTA intra-company transfers: This is available to individuals who are being transferred to the Canadian branch, parent company or subsidiary of a company in the United States or Mexico, for the purposes of executive, managerial or specialist work.
- NAFTA traders: This category is for individuals who work for an American or Mexican company that already has a trade relationship with Canada, who can demonstrate their intention to conduct substantial trade of goods and services.
- NAFTA investors: This is for people who can prove that they have made a sizeable investment in a Canadian business, and that they intend to come to Canada to help with the management of the business. Key employees of the investor may also be able to get NAFTA work permits in this category.