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NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement

Work Permits Pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement for U.S. and Mexican Citizens Entering Canada

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has created benefits for U.S. and Mexican citizens interested in entering Canada for business. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), if someone is entering Canada to work they must qualify under NAFTA, other FTAs or the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), if they don’t have an LMIA. Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 107 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

NAFTA allows those who are citizens of the U.S., Mexico and Canada to quickly and easily enter the member countries for investment or business reasons, or temporary employment. Non-member citizens must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment and obtain a Work Permit in order to work in Canada. Those who qualify under NAFTA only need to meet the standard rules for admissibility into Canada.

Who Travels Under NAFTA?

According to IRCC, there are specific groups who travel into Canada under NAFTA:

  • business visitors
  • professionals
  • intra-company transfers
  • traders and investors

    If you are not sure if you qualify, it is best to speak with a legal expert. You must have proper documentation in order before you arrive in Canada, and it is best to clarify well ahead of time if you do qualify to enter and work in Canada under NAFTA.

    In summary, a valid business visitor from the U.S. or Mexico may not need a Work Permit if they do not take part in the Canadian labour market. Professionals will have to be qualified and expected to work in one of the jobs designated under the NAFTA arrangement. The full list is found at the official NAFTA website. Citizens of the U.S. and Mexico must have an Offer of Employment from a Canadian business before they may apply for a Work Permit.

    Intra-company transferees must prove they are transferring from the same or a related company outside of Canada, have worked for a specified minimum period of time, have specialized knowledge or management experience and will need to obtain a Work Permit. Traders and Investors must work at a planning or executive level, their firm must have a large investment in Canada and a Work Permit is required.

    Each category has definite requirements, it is best to speak with your company directly and a legal expert on NAFTA working arrangements before you arrange travel to Canada.

    Work Permits

    Although traveling under NAFTA can streamline a lot of the typical challenges, a large number of those entering will require Work Permits. The process for a Work Permit can be lengthy because of the need for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). To determine what supporting documents you require and what you must apply for, it is best to speak with an expert ahead of time to discover if you must work with the Canadian employer to be sure this particular issue is addressed.

    U.S.MCA and Cross-Border Business: NAFTA 2.0

    Commonly dubbed NAFTA 2.0, Canada's new trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, U.S.MCA, was signed literally hours before the deadline on September 30, 2018. U.S.MCA proposes a 16-year agreement, renewable following a six-year review.

    NAFTA 2.0 has not yet been ratified.

    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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