What is NAFTA, and How Does it Impact my Ability to Work in Canada?
You’ve probably heard the term NAFTA before. If you don’t already know what NAFTA is, I’m here to help. “NAFTA” stands for North American Free Trade Agreement. This is an agreement between Mexico, Canada and the USA designed to allow citizens of these three countries easier access to the benefits of each other’s economies, through trade and work contributions. What this means is individuals who are citizens of these three countries have the privilege of being able to access work industries beyond their own borders easier than if they were not citizens of one of these three countries. Canadian, US and Mexican citizens can obtain a work permit for one of these three countries relatively easily. Though, it is a very important process to understand, to ensure you are not denied the opportunity to work in another county. Keep reading this blog for a detailed explanation of obtaining a NAFTA work permit, to come to work in Canada if you are from the USA or Mexico.
What is a NAFTA Work Permit?
As mentioned, NAFTA makes it easier for citizens of certain countries to find a work permit. But how does it actually do this? Because of NAFTA, individuals who apply for a work permit under NAFTA do not have to obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), before they are able to come to Canada. A LMIA is used to ensure there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a position within Canada, because there is no Canadian available to fill the position. Essentially, this means that individuals under NAFTA are protected from the requirement that they cannot take a position from any Canadian. As the result of NAFTA, citizens of the US and Mexico are also privilege to the Canadian labor market. This is a huge benefit to citizens of these countries, as the process of applying for an LMIA can be lengthy and difficult, and seriously impact your chances of being permitted to work in Canada on a temporary basis. This process requires a foreign worker to have a Canadian employer arrange for their employment within Canada. Receiving a positive LMIA is a large part of this process, as they must obtain permission from the Canadian government to bring a foreign worker to Canada, before they can enter the country and begin to work. As mentioned, NAFTA removes this requirement and greatly speeds up the application process; some individuals can even apply for their work permit at the border, but this ultimately depends on your specific situation.