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NAFTA Work Permits Simplified

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NAFTA Work Permits Simplified

Jade Calver

NAFTA Work Permits Simplified

The NAFTA seeks to liberalize trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and abolish tariffs and other trade barriers. The Agreement opens up the three countries’ markets by ensuring that future laws will not create barriers to doing business.

The North American Free Trade agreement allows for American and Mexican nationals to work in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and in some instances, a Work Permit.

Normally, once a foreign national is offered employment in Canada, a Labour Market Impact Assessment must be obtained from Service Canada (HRSDC). After this, a Work Permit must be obtained, as well as a CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) if the job location is in Quebec.


NAFTA allows American nationals and Mexican nationals to apply for a Work Permit without an LMIA, and in some cases they are Work Permit exempt all together.
The positions in Canada must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for these NAFTA exemptions.

Business Visitors to Canada are both LMIA and Work Permit exempt, they must meet specific conditions that show that they will not enter the Canadian Labour Market.

Business Professionals, Intra-company Transferees and Traders/ Investors are exempt from the LMIA requirement, but do require a Work Permit.

These categories facilitate the flow of labour between Canada, the United States and Mexico, however it is important to pay careful attention to the conditions of each category, in order to satisfy CIC or a CBSA officer that one fulfills the requirements of the NAFTA category. Applying under the wrong category can result in a refusal of entry to Canada.

Calver and Associates can help you prepare a NAFTA Worker’s package to submit to CIC or to a CBSA Officer at a Border Entry. To discuss your options please call us at 514-442-9404 or e-mail jade@calverandassociates.com.