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

Who Qualifies under NAFTA Work Permit

Who Qualifies under NAFTA Work Permit

NAFTA Work Permit

NAFTA is an agreement between three countries that allows a worker from any of these countries to go and work in any of the three countries that are party to the agreement of NAFTA. It makes the job of a worker to get a visa to work and live in Canada much easier on temporary basis for the reasons of employment. The countries that are party to this agreement include Canada, America and Mexico. This agreement does not apply to workers who are coming from any other country apart from these three countries. Other foreign workers have to follow a different visa procedure to enter Canada for employment. NAFTA Work Permit allows its citizens to find employment in signatory countries without the need to apply for Labour Market Impact assessment (LMIA). NAFTA saves time and money of the citizens through its own visa process. LMIA is a lengthy process where the employer has to arrange an employment for a foreign worker. The employer waits until no Canadian or a permanent resident is found to fill the position. Under NAFTA no employer has to arrange a job instead the worker comes to the border and applies for the visa. There are various categories that fall under NAFTA. These categories are mentioned below:

  • NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers

  • NAFTA Professionals

  • NAFTA Traders and Investors

  • Business visitors

Intra-Company Transfer

Individuals who qualify under this category is sent to the same company in a different country. Under this category the worker must have work experience on an ongoing basis for at least one year in the last three years. Also, the worker has to demonstrate that he has worked for the same company or related employer in the United States or Mexico. Also, to qualify the worker must be transferred to Canada to work for a short period of time for the same or a related employer. The worker must be a manager or an executive or has to be in a job that is specialized knowledge. The last but not the least the worker has to have a Work Permit.

NAFTA Professionals

In order for a worker to qualify under this category, the worker has to be qualified to work in the jobs that are set out under NAFTA such as the worker could be a category of engineer, accountant, computer system analyst etc. The professional needs to have a job from a Canadian business in the field and apply for the work permit as well.

NAFTA Traders and Investors

NAFTA Traders and Investors category has its own requirements too. In order for you to qualify under this you must be involved in the company as a supervisor, planner, executive or in a duty that involves skills in managing a large amount of trade in goods or large investment in Canada by you or your company.

Business Visitors

Business Visitors do not require a Work Permit. Business Visitor is a person who comes to Canada with an intention to participate in an international business and its activities without being part of the Canadian labour market. Normally business visitors stay in Canada for a period of a few days or maybe weeks depending on the purpose of their visit but they can stay in Canada for up to six months.

What NAFTA does?

  • NAFTA allows people temporary entry into Canada under the treaty to do business in Canada. The applicants have to be citizens and involved in the business of trades of goods or in investment activities.

  • NAFTA removes the obligation for the applicants to get a labour market impact assessment for all business persons that are covered by the agreement

  • It removes the need for a work permit from a business visitor

  • It expedites the application process for the Intra-company transferees because one can apply at the port of entry. However, the nationals who need a temporary resident visa to enter Canada should apply at a visa office before they come to Canada.

What NAFTA does not do?

  • NAFTA does not allow permanent residence to Canada

  • It does not exempt the professionals to meet the licensing or certification requirements

  • NAFTA does not extend special privileges to the applicants spouse or other family members

  • It does not go by universal requirements relating to passports, identification documents, safety and security checks and medical examinations etc.

Documentation Required?

Although these categories under NAFTA have different documents needed for each category. However, the documents mentioned below will give you a brief idea about what kind of documents are expected from a person applying for a particular category.

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Employment letter from the company

  • Educational credentials

  • Letter explaining the duties and responsibility in the company

  • pre-arranged employment with a Canadian employer

Again, each category has its own requirement of documents but the documents mentioned above will be needed in almost all those categories of NAFTA.

Accompanying Spouse

A lot of people ask if they can accompany their spouse and family members with them to Canada. Some people fly over to the country without knowing that they could have taken their spouse with them too. They realize much later that they could have accompanied their spouse too and the process is not very complicated for this category. The foreign worker can apply for an Open Work Permit for their spouse. Open Work Permit allows them to stay with their husband or wife as long as the permit of the principle applicant is valid. It is not a work permit that restricts you to work for a particular employer. With Open Work Permit you can work for any employer without any conditions.

Where to Apply for NAFTA Application?

You can submit the application for NAFTA visa category at the port of entry. You can also apply at the visa office or the consulate in your country. If you are an American citizen you can apply directly at the port of entry. However, if you are a Mexican citizen then you cannot directly apply at the port of entry. As a Mexican citizen you will have to apply for Temporary Resident Visa to arrive at the port of entry in Canada and then you can apply for it. When assessing applications for NAFTA by citizens of the U.S or Mexico all available avenues for temporary entry are considered. In case if an American or a Mexican citizen is not eligible to enter Canada, they may be qualified to apply under the general provisions governing temporary workers.

As far as extension is concerned, the initial work permit issued at the port of entry gives you a maximum duration of one year of stay in Canada. Extensions are granted for duration of two years as well provided the requirements outlined in each category are met.

Contact Akrami & Associates

If you have any further questions about NAFTA and want to figure out if you qualify for it or if you want us to work on you application, please do consider Akrami & Associates for all your legal needs. Our team of dedicated consultants and lawyers will take good care of you by presenting the best possible case for you and your loved ones.

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!

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