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NAFTA

I am a representative of a business (American/Mexican) meaning to transfer an employee(s) to Canada

Under the NAFTA, you, or the employee you wish to transfer, require a work permit to enter the Canadian labour force. Business Visitors do not enter the Canadian labour force and do not require a work permit.

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

Professionals

Intra-company Transferees

Traders

Investors

Professionals (TN Visa) :

As an American or Mexican enterprise, you may send an employee(s) of the same nationality to work in Canada under the following conditions:

  • You must have a contract to provide goods or services to a Canadian enterprise.

  • The occupation of the employee(s) must be one of the 63 approved Professions.

  • The employee(s) must be qualified to perform the activities to be carried out in Canada.

  • You must provide documentation and evidence of the above.

Employers of NAFTA Professionals are exempt from first seeking approval from Human Resources and Development Canada (HRSDC). Professionals with documentation to support their application can instead apply immediately for a temporary work permit.

Professionals may apply 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 in support of their work permit request:

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Proof of qualification

  • Proof of employment

  • Proof of pre-arranged contract with Canadian enterprise

If you have multiple Canadian contracts, 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.

Professional may also seek entry to Canada as Business Visitors under general guidelines, if during their brief stay they will restrict their business activity to soliciting, consulting, and advising current clients.

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

Intra-Company Transferees :

Certain employees may be transferred within a company or organization to an affiliate enterprise in Canada. The Canadian business must be a real operating enterprise, or soon will be. To learn more about establishing an enterprise in Canada, please click here.

The employee you wish to transfer may apply for the work permit in advance at any Canadian Visa Office. Alternatively, the employee may apply for the permit at a Canadian Port of Entry. Also, if the employee 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, or the employee you wish to hire (the Applicant), may apply for a work permit as a NAFTA Trader if the following conditions are met:

Individuals 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.

Investors :

You, or the employee you wish to hire (the Applicant), may apply for a work permit as a NAFTA Investor if the following conditions are met:

Individuals applying for Investor status in Canada undergo a more complicated application process. The work permit application and the application for Investor 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 Investors are valid for up to one year. An extension of up to two years may be granted.

To learn more about establishing an enterprise in Canada, please click here.

Return to NAFTA Overview

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