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I am a Canadian employer intending to employ an American or Mexican individual

Under the NAFTA, the foreign worker you wish to employ requires a work permit to enter the Canadian labour force.

The NAFTA eases entry for foreign workers who qualify under any of the three following Temporary Foreign Worker categories:


Intra-company Transferees


Professionals (TN Visa) :

In general, it is the responsibility of employers to arrange for the Canadian Government Department known as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to assess any employment offer before a foreign individual can fill it. The NAFTA removes this step for employers seeking to hire a foreign Professional. There exist sixty-three occupations that are considered to be Professional and exempted from HRSDC employment authorization. If you intend to employ a qualified foreign Professional, that Professional may apply for a temporary work permit upon receipt of your offer of employment.

A Professional may apply for a temporary work permit before traveling to Canada at any Canadian Visa Office or directly at a Canadian Port of Entry.

Professional applicants should be prepared to provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Proof of pre-arranged employment, such as a contract or job offer, which includes:

    » Name of Canadian employer
    » Description of Profession
    » Details of position
    » Qualifications necessary

  • Proof of qualification

If the applicant has multiple Canadian contracts or employers all information should be provided. Once a work permit has been issued it will be valid for at most one year. Extensions of one year each can be sought from within Canada.

Foreign workers who are not Professionals, Transferees, or Business Visitors, can still apply under the general guidelines for Temporary Foreign Workers.

Intra-Company Transferees :

The foreign worker you wish to employ may apply for the work permit in advance at any Canadian Visa Office. Alternatively, the foreign worker may apply for the permit at a Canadian Port of Entry. Also, if the foreign worker is in Canada as a Visitor, a work permit application can be filed within Canada.

Transferees should be prepared to supply the following documentation when applying for a work permit:

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Outline of pre-arranged position in Canada, including:

    » Duration of stay
    » Description of employment as executive or specialized knowledge

  • Proof of relationship between Canadian and foreign employers

  • Proof of previous employment with organization:

    » Minimum of one continuous year in the last three years
    » Similar position to the one being offered in Canada

Initial work permits for Transferees will be valid for at most three years. Transferees entering Canada to open or work in a new office will be granted permits valid for up to one year.

Extensions may be granted for up to two years at a time. Executive Transferees can be granted permits for up to seven years in total. Specialized knowledge workers are expected to more quickly pass on their expertise and can receive permits valid for up to five years in total.

Traders :

You may apply for a work permit as a NAFTA Trader if you meet the following conditions:

Employees applying for Trader Status in Canada undergo a more complicated application process. The work permit application and the application for Trader Status must be completed, and supporting documentation provided for all criteria. Due to the complex nature of this process, applicants are advised to apply at a Canadian Visa Office before traveling to Canada.

Initial work permits for Traders are valid for up to one year. An extension of up to two years may be granted.

Because of the complexity, Trader Status in Canada has limited use and American/Mexican individuals may first wish to consider if there is any other way to qualify for a work permit.

Return to NAFTA Overview

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