Learn what is CUSMA and how to immigrate to Canada under this Agreement

Signed in 1994 by Canada, U.S., and Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement – NAFTA was developed to facilitate trade and revoke barriers among the three participating nations when doing business. In July 2020, a new agreement named CUSMA entered in force to update provisions of NAFTA and address current trade and economic issues of the three countries.

In terms of immigration regulations, CUSMA eliminates the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for business persons covered by the Agreement, which means citizens of U.S. and Mexico seeking to enter Canada to operate a business for the purpose of trade of goods or services, or investment activities are authorized to do under the CUSMA since the meet the eligibility requirements.

Categories of business persons who can enter Canada under the CUSMA:

  • Business visitors – do not need a work permit to enter Canada
  • Professionals (according to list of eligible professions on CUSMA) – need a work permit to enter Canada
  • Intra-company transferees – need a work permit to enter Canada
  • Traders and investors – need a work permit to enter Canada

Business visitors can apply at the port of entry to enter Canada temporarily. In same cases, when multiple visits or long-term staying are required, issuing of a visitor record might be considered to facilitate entry.

Professionals, Intra-company transferees, trades persons and investors need a work permit to enter and work in Canada through the CUSMA.

However, work permits processed under the CUSMA is faster and simpler than the work permit obtained through an LMIA process.

Eligibility requirements

Business Investors

  • citizenship of the U.S. or Mexico;
  • to do business activities as per defined in the CUSMA;
  • activities are international in scope;
  • no intent to enter the Canadian labour market which the foreign national or the employer can demonstrate by establishing that:
    • the primary source of remuneration remains outside Canada;
    • the principal place of business remains outside Canada; and
    • compliance with existing immigration/admissibility requirements for temporary entry.

The purpose of traveling must have a commercial nature which reflect the components of a business cycle such as research and design, growth, manufacture and production, marketing, sales, distribution, after-sales service, and general service.

Professionals

  • citizenship of the U.S. or Mexico;
  • profession identified in Appendix 2 of CUSMA (63 professions in the fields of medicine, education, science and others listed at the end of this page);
  • qualification to work in that profession (degree or certification in a related educational program);
  • pre-arranged employment with a Canadian employer;
  • provision of professional level services in the field of qualification as indicated in the Appendix; and
  • compliance with existing immigration requirements for temporary entry.

 Intra-company transferees

  • citizenship of the U.S. or Mexico;
  • seeking employment in an executive or managerial capacity or one involving “specialized knowledge”;
  • transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which he or she is currently employed;
  • enterprises in the U.S. or Mexico and in Canada have a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate relationship;
  • continuous employment, in a similar position outside Canada, for at least one year (full-time) in the previous three-year period from the date of initial application; and
  • compliance with existing immigration requirements for temporary entry.

Traders

  • applicant has American or Mexican citizenship;
  • the employing enterprise has American or Mexican nationality;
  • activities involve substantial trade in goods or services;
  • trade is principally between either the U.S. or Mexico, and Canada;
  • position is supervisory or executive, or involves essential skills; and
  • compliance with existing immigration requirements for temporary entry.

Investors

  • applicant has American or Mexican citizenship;
  • enterprise has American or Mexican nationality;
  • substantial investment has been made, or is actively being made;
  • applicant is seeking entry solely to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • if the applicant is an employee, position is executive or supervisory or involves essential skills; and
  • compliance with existing immigration measures applicable to temporary entry.

Work Permits and Extensions

Work permit for professionals under the CUSMA will be granted for up to three years. Extensions can also be issued for up to three years with no limit on the number of extensions providing the individual continues to comply with the requirements for professionals.

Intra-company transferees will be issued a work permit for up to three year except for those coming to open an office or to be employed in a new office who will be granted a one-year work permit. Extensions can be granted for a duration of up to two years if the transferee continues to comply with the requirements.

Work permit for traders and investors categories will be granted for up to one year and can be extended for additional two years provided that the applicant continues to meet the criteria for these categories.

Contact us to know if you qualify to work in Canada under the CUSMA.

Contact@cisimm.ca

+1 250 979 0422