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GATS: General Agreement on Trade in Services

Work Permits Pursuant to the General Agreement on Trade in Services

The General Agreement on Trade in Services or (GATS) is often described as being similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is an agreement under the World Trade Organization that came into force in January 1995. Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 107 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

The main purpose of GATS immigration regulations is to facilitate the entry of business personnel, technical personnel and executives of a company located in one of the member nations to a company located in another member nation (e.g. Canada) with which it is already doing or wishes to do business with, or plans to open a branch office or subsidiary in other member nations.

However, there are some larger differences. For example, under GATS, the Canadian government has created only three categories of business persons allowed an exemption under the agreement. These are:

  • Business visitors
  • Intra-company transferees
  • Professionals

The Business Visitor category does not require a Work Permit because the individual is not entering the Canadian labour market. Naturally, that person has to meet all of the specific qualifications, showing that they will not enter the Canadian labour market, that their employer is outside of Canada and that they are being paid by the foreign employer.

The intra-company transferee category is a Work Permit category – same as for professionals category, but the conditions for qualification for professionals are more complex. The intra-company transferee must prove the relationship between the foreign and Canadian company and show why the foreign worker is more qualified than existing or potential Canadian workers for the position in Canada. GATS professionals must meet minimum educational requirements as well as certain licensing requirements. The professionals must also have a contract in place before arriving that shows they will be employed in their professional capacity and will be remunerated in this capacity with the fair market wage in the region of the employment.

Fundamentally, GATS offers certain foreign nationals and their employers relief from the need for an LMIA, but not always the need for Work Permits. Because you will have to have all of your documentation in order before you arrive, it is best to begin the application processes ahead of time, and discuss any questions you might have with legal experts on such matters.

Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 107 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

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It is one thing to earn a living; it is another thing to make a difference in the world.

This is our formal thank you note to Evelyn Ackah and the Ackah Law Team for all the effort they put into helping us navigate and finally resolve the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration back in the spring of 2012.

A friend referred us to Evelyn; he assured us that Evelyn would take good care of us. Our friend was confident we were in good hands and said Evelyn would do her very best to help us and she did! At the time we did not know that his referral would go far beyond finding us help. Slowly we realized that it would become our own personal story of how we received grace and were reminded of the power in paying it forward

We wrote a detailed page of our dilemma, explaining how we came to be in the position we were in (overwhelmed with the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration and the uncertainty that we faced as a young family in Calgary). Evelyn agreed to take on our file with her team. They found the time to personally call us and listened intently and understood the details of what we were dealing with. They gave us their time, an honest opinion and provided clear direction which proved to be invaluable advice. Months went by but in time, we received word from Ackah Law that the Immigration office had finally reviewed our file and a decision had been made allowing our family to finally put the immigration matter to rest. We were finally able to focus again to live our lives without fear or pending doom.

Looking back now, even the sun appeared to shine a little brighter that day. At first we didn’t know whether to bake them a cake, drive out to meet their team, find their offices and personally thank them with a mighty hug or simply cry out to the heavens in thankful relief. Instead we emailed them to express our heartfelt thank-you and we hoped that they would know deep in their hearts just how grateful we were for all of their help.

Even though we relied on emails and phone conversations to communicate with them that year, we will always remember their constant professionalism, their kindness and understanding at a time that brought us so much pain not to mention fear. As if all their hard work wasn’t enough, Evelyn then then casually mentions that all their work was done pro-bono! We were thoroughly humbled!

To this day we are still eager to share how wonderful they all are as human beings but even more than that, we continue to pay it forward in honour of them, their service to us and their continued dedication in helping others.

Eternally thankful

– The Brummunds

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