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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Business Visitors Gain Easier Entry into Canada with Help of CETA

Business Visitors Gain Easier Entry into Canada with Help of CETA

CETA Finally Comes into Effect & Helps Business Visitors

On September 21, 2017, a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU) came into effect. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for businesses, their employees, service suppliers, independent professionals, and business visitors to work in Canada and contribute to the Canadian economy and labour market. With this new free trade agreement comes many changes and new implementations to immigration Canada. Therefore, in this article, I will address what CETA entails and what this means for short-term business visitors, investors, independent professionals and intra-company transferees.

What is CETA

CETA is an abbreviation for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, the European Union (EU) and its fellow member states. The implementation of this free trade agreement essentially eliminates approximately 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the European Union (EU). This free trade agreement came into effect successfully on September 21 of 2017. However, there are still many member states that have yet to approve and consent to the agreement. The Canadian government has high expectations of this free trade agreement and expects the bilateral trade to increase approximately 20%.

CETA also assists business persons, who are either citizens of Canada or the European Union (EU), gain entry into Canada and ultimately removes the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement prior to them working lawfully within Canada. This can be extremely advantageous for these individuals as the LMIA process is a lengthy one. However, please note that the LMIA is intended to ensure that Canadian companies only hire temporary foreign workers if it is ultimately determined that no Canadian citizens or permanent residents can take the available position. Because these business people are exempt from needing an LMIA, the process of working in Canada is that much easier.

Additionally, new LMIA exemption codes have been created to differentiate the business visitors coming from EU member states from other business visitors. These exemptions can also be granted under the International Mobility Program (IMP). The IMP is a program intended to act as an umbrella program in which the Canadian government looks for broad economic competitive advantages for Canada.

Business people are specifically mentioned in Chapter 10 of CETA. In this chapter CETA describes the following categories of visitors for business:

  1. Key personnel - This includes investors, intra-company transferees, and business visitors for investment purposes
  2. Contractual service suppliers & independent professionals
  3. Short-term business visitors

Below I will explain the eligibility criteria and requirements for short term business visitors, investors, independent professionals and intra-company transferees.

Short-Term Business Visitors

The eligible business activities is different in the CETA compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For instance, in the CETA, it includes categories for meetings, consultations, and training seminars. Another example that is included in the CETA is the description of the after-sales services which also includes after-lease services. Evidently, the CETA is very detailed. It is important to note that the maximum validity for stay in Canada for short-term business visitors, as well as business visitors for investment purposes, is approximately 90 days. These 90 days can be within any six-month period, of course unless otherwise eligible at other time periods.

Investors

Under CETA, investor provisions apply to any applicants who intend on establishing, developing or administering the operation of an investment in a supervisory or executive capacity. Additionally, they must be an investor and employed by a reputable enterprise that has committed a substantial amount of capital. The duration of stay for investors in Canada is approximately one year. This validity period can be extended only at the Immigration officer’s discretion. In order for the Immigration officer to be satisfied and extend the validity period, the investor must provide sufficient documentation to prove why they need to extend their stay.

Contractual Service Suppliers & Independent Professionals

In order to apply under CETA as a contractual service supplier or an independent professional, applicants must be citizens of a European Union member state; be engaged in a temporary supply of a service for a period that does not exceed one year; and, be contracted to provide said service in accordance with the Annex 10-E concordance table. Additionally, these professionals must also possess either a university degree or a qualification that demonstrates their knowledge in an equivalent level. They have to be adequately qualified as professionals if they are required to practice any activity that abides by the laws of the province or territory where the service will be implemented. Keep in mind, some classes of engineering and scientific technologists are able to enter Canada as professionals without obtaining a university degree. Moreover, the duration of stay for these professionals is no longer than one year in any two year period. This period of time must also be cumulative. Or, the other option for the duration of stay would be for the duration of the contract. The validity period would be whichever is less.

Intra-Company Transferees

To apply under CETA, these intra-company transferees must be employed by an enterprise or business of, or have been partners of said enterprise or business, an European Union member state for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, they must also be temporarily transferred to an enterprise in Canada. The enterprise in Canada can either be a subsidiary, a branch or a head company of the enterprise. Under CETA, graduate trainee applicants are also accepted. These graduate trainee applicants must obtain a university degree and be temporarily transferred to a Canadian enterprise for a career development purpose or to successfully obtain training in either business techniques or methods. The conditions for an intra-company transferee in the CETA are very similar to the existing Intra-Company Transfer program. The only difference is that CETA includes graduate trainee applicants. Lastly, senior personnel and specialists are also able to work in Canada with an LMIA exemption.

Contact Akrami & Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned important information in consideration prior to applying to work in Canada under the new free trade agreement CETA. Additionally, if you are unsure whether you need a work permit or not, it is always best to research beforehand. Applying for work permits in Canada is a difficult task to do on your own; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients apply and receive a valid work permit to work in Canada. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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