North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA

Posted in NAFTA Work Permit


Essentially, this is an agreement that encompasses Canada, Mexico and the United States and is geared towards increased trade between these countries. This agreement encompasses many issues like exports, imports, industry, environment and the mobility of persons. NAFTA plays a role in immigration with respect to certain exemptions when it comes to citizens of these countries, under NAFTA, being allowed to enter and exit or even work within these countries without requiring the same documentation as visitors or workers from other countries not under NAFTA.

If you are a citizen of Canada, the United States or Mexico, you may be able to gain quicker or easier access to temporary status in Canada to work or do business. For example, business people covered under NAFTA do not require a Labour Market Opinion, as people from other countries might when attempting to work or conduct business in Canada. However, those covered by NAFTA must still meet some basic requirement and fall under specific categories.

NAFTA applies to four specific categories:

Business visitors

  • Come to Canada for business activities like meetings and seminars, or the purchase of Canadian goods however do not actually engage in employment within the Canadian job market
  • Typically stay for a few days
  • Profits are made outside of Canada
  • Meet other basic travel requirements


  • Must be qualified in a one of the recognized professions under NAFTA
  • Have employment arranged prior to entering Canada
  • Requires a work permit

Intra Company Transferees

  • Have worked continuously for one year within the last three years prior to your application for the same or affiliated employer within the United States or Mexico
  • Be transferred to Canada to work with the same or affiliated employer
  • Work must be considered to be managerial, executive or require specialized knowledge
  • Requires a work permit

Traders and Investors

  • Conduct sizeable trade in goods or services between Canada and their country of citizenship or make investment in Canada in a supervisory or executive capacity
  • Requires a work permit

NAFTA creates an ease of access with respect to immigration and allows for liberties for citizens of the countries that encompass NAFTA. For example, if you are a citizen of the United States and you are considered a professional under NAFTA, you are exempt from a Labour Market Opinion. This means that you or your employer will not be required to go through the rigorous process of demonstrating recruitment efforts for your intended position in Canada and will not have to receive approval from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) prior to receiving your work permit and ability to work in Canada. This greatly shortens your processing or wait times and quickens your temporary status in Canada.

Tags: NAFTA Work Permits Work Permit Canadian Temporary Residence Canadian Immigration

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