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North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Work Permits

If you are a citizen of Mexico, Canada or the United States, one of several NAFTA provisions relating to Canadian work permits, LMOs or their exemption may apply to you. There are 3 types of NAFTA work permits:


Individuals who have American or Mexican citizenship and are setting up or buying a business in Canada may qualify for a NAFTA Investor work permit. So long as the business is majority owned by individuals with American or Mexican citizenship. The main criteria is that the investor must be making a substantial investment – this means that the individual has invested funds in the business that are irrevocably committed to the business venture and cannot simply be redeemed on demand. There is no minimum investment required, the amount of investment must be significant in proportion to the business venture. The Canadian immigration officer assessing the application will be examining whether the applicant has put significant capital at risk, when deciding whether to issue this NAFTA work permit.


This type of work permit facilitates the movement of employees from a company in the United States or Mexico to a Canadian branch, affiliate or subsidiary/parent of the company located outside of Canada. This NAFTA work permit is designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from a senior manager, or an employee with specialized knowledge abroad, to the employees working for the Canadian business.  Provided that the applicant was on the payroll of the foreign company for a period of at least one year in the three years prior to the application in a managerial or senior position or as a specialized knowledge employee and are offered that same position in Canada, they will qualify for this type of NAFTA work permit.


If an American or Mexican citizen has work experience as a professional in certain occupations and they have an offer of employment in their profession in Canada, they may be eligible for a NAFTA professional work permit.  The applicant must meet the minimum education requirements or meet the alternative credential requirements outlined in NAFTA.  Examples of occupations that qualify for this type of work permit include engineers and accountants.

For more information on NAFTA work permits, let us assist you by filling out our free assessment form.

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