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How CUSMA Can Help Americans Work in Canada

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Canada Work Permits and NAFTA

How CUSMA Can Help Americans Work in Canada

CUSMA facilitates cross-border labour mobility for Americans to work in Canada by streamlining regulations, removing barriers that previously hindered the process and expediting the work permit process.
The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) has made it easier for Americans to work in Canada. CUSMA allows citizens of the US or Mexico to enter Canada temporarily for work that involves investment or the trade of goods or services. This landmark trade agreement, which replaced NAFTA, fosters a more conducive environment for cross-border labour mobility. Under CUSMA, American professionals in various fields such as information technology, engineering and business can take advantage of streamlined procedures for obtaining work permits. This facilitates a quicker and more straightforward transition into the Canadian job market.


The CUSMA agreement promotes transparency and fairness in labour regulations, ensuring that American workers in Canada are afforded the same rights and protections as their Canadian counterparts. CUSMA encourages collaboration and the exchange of expertise between the two nations, ultimately fostering economic growth and innovation on both sides of the border. CUSMA demonstrates the close and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Canada, providing American workers with a valuable gateway to new professional opportunities north of the border.

Who Qualifies Under CUSMA

There are four types of workers who are included under CUSMA:

  • Business visitors:
    Business visitors are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit if they are working in certain industries, such as research, design, and manufacturing.
  • Professionals:
    Professionals who enter Canada to work as salaried employees of a Canadian business, or as contract workers for an American or Mexican company that has an agreement with a Canadian business, do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), but they do need a work permit.
  • Intra-company transferees:
    Intra-company transferees who are employed by an American or Mexican company and are being transferred to the Canadian enterprise, branch, or affiliate in an executive role or to provide specialized knowledge, also do not need an LMIA, but they do need a work permit.
  • Traders and investors:
    Traders and investors who either facilitate substantial trade between the US and Canada or Mexico and Canada or have a substantial amount of capital invested in Canada, also do not need an LMIA, but they do need a work permit.

Business visitors are exempt from getting a work permit to work in Canada, but professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors must obtain work permits through a special application process.

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If you are an American worker interested in moving to Canada permanently, you can also consider two other major routes: Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

How To Apply For A CUSMA Work Permit

To apply for a work permit under CUSMA, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • A job offer from a Canadian employer
  • A work permit application form
  • Proof of eligibility under CUSMA

You can apply for a CUSMA work permit online or by mail. A Canadian immigration lawyer can help you assess your eligibility, apply for a work permit and make sure everything is complete and accurate so nothing is delayed.

How CUSMA Can Help Canadian Businesses Grow

CUSMA can help Canadian businesses grow by making it easier to hire American workers. CUSMA includes provisions that make it easier for Canadian businesses to obtain work permits for American workers, such as:

  • Elimination of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement:
    CUSMA eliminates the LMIA requirement for certain categories of American workers, such as business visitors, professionals, and intra-company transferees. This means that Canadian businesses can hire these workers without having to prove that there are no Canadian workers available to fill the positions.
  • Streamlined application process:
    CUSMA streamlines the application process for work permits for American workers. This makes it easier and faster for Canadian businesses to hire these workers.
  • Increased flexibility:
    CUSMA gives Canadian businesses more flexibility in hiring American workers. For example, Canadian businesses can now hire American workers for temporary assignments of up to two years, without having to obtain a new work permit every time the assignment is renewed.

CUSMA is expected to increase investment in Canada, which can help Canadian businesses expand and create jobs.

    How Long Does It Take To Get A CUSMA Work Permit

    The processing time for a work permit under CUSMA is typically 2-3 weeks. However, the exact processing time may vary depending on the circumstances of your application. For example, if your application is incomplete or if you need to provide additional information, the processing time may be longer.

    If you are interested in working in Canada under CUSMA, a Canadian immigration lawyer can help you assess your eligibility and apply for a work permit.


    A Canadian Immigration Can Help Americans Get A CUSMA Work Permit

    A Canadian immigration lawyer can help you assess your eligibility for a CUSMA work permit:

    • Review your qualifications and experience: The lawyer can help you determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for a CUSMA work permit, such as having the required education and experience.
    • Advise you on the application process: The lawyer can explain the application process and help you gather the necessary documentation.
    • Represent you at a visa interview: If required, the lawyer can represent you at a visa interview with the Canadian government.
    • Appeal a decision: If your application is denied, the lawyer can help you appeal the decision.

    In addition to helping you with the application process, a Canadian immigration lawyer can also provide you with general immigration advice. They can help you understand the Canadian immigration system and your options for immigrating to Canada, including Express Entry or PNP.

      Ackah Business Immigration Law has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to help clients move to new opportunities in Canada and the United States. To get in touch with Ackah Law, contact us at (403) 452-9515 or send an email directly to contact@ackahlaw.com.

      Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

      Founder/Managing Lawyer

      Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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      I have had the pleasure of working with Evelyn Ackah on various immigration, LMIA, permanent residency and border issues for the past seven years. Evelyn and her team are the ultimate resources for any employer seeking to navigate the ever changing legal climate in a timely and professional manner. Evelyn’s wealth of knowledge, experience and industry connections coupled with her ability to simplify complex legal processes have made her my ‘go-to’ resource for all issues pertaining to business immigration.

      – Eileen Marley, Human Resources Business Partner - Corporate and Concord

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