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Corporate Immigration

Work Permit NAFTA (US/Mexico)

YOU SELECTED THIS OPTION BECAUSE:You would like to sponsor a US or Mexican national as a temporary foreign worker.

A Treaty Work Permit is a special track allowing a Canadian employer or host company to bypass the cumbersome Labour certification process to hiring a foreign worker which include a 4-week advertising campaign spanning three mediums, a $1000 filing fee, a ridiculous “transition plan” on how the company intends to weed out the foreign worker, huge processing delays, and other onerous bureaucratic requirements; all of which give absolutely no assurance to success.

Of the approximate 221,273 work permits that were issued in 2013, 21,644 stemmed from a Treaty Permit. The vast majority of treaty permits consist of the NAFTA visas.

An employer wishing to hire a foreign worker who is exempt from the requirement of an LMIA must still submit a comprehensive packet. The packet must include evidence that the position is “real”, that the company is eligible to hire a non-Canadian and that the foreign worker is qualified to perform the duties of the job.

NAFTA Work Permits are grouped in three broad categories including:

  • Professionals (Occupational)
  • Intra-Company Transferees (Executive, Managerial Staff, Specialized Knowledge)
  • Trade/Investor

The Professionals category, by far the most popular NAFTA work permit, consists of “occupational” visas that are based on the applicant’s training or academic background. An accountant, management consultant, registered nurse, systems analyst, all qualify as a NAFTA permit under the Professionals category. For a full list of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) occupations that may qualify for an LMIA waiver, click here:

The second category of NAFTA visas are the intra-company transfers. These involve executives, managerial staff and employees with “specialized knowledge” who wish to transfer from the US entity to the majority-owned Canadian business entity. The typical intra-company NAFTA work permit involves the transfer of an executive or specialized knowledge employee from the US parent or affiliate to the corresponding Canadian parent or Affiliate Company.

The third category of NAFTA visas is relatively rare but extremely effective. The investor/trader visa (the US equivalent of an E2), are those US or Mexican nationals who wish to operate a business in Canada. These, for the most part, include self-proprietors in a small business such as a restaurant, hotel, an outfitter, or a consultancy.

Whether preparing a Professionals, Intra-Company or Investor/Trader, all of these NAFTA visas may be filed at the Canadian Consulate or at an in-Canada intake office. For those in a “hurry”, a Professionals and Intra-Company visa may be obtained directly at the point-of-entry or airport. In the latter case, the documentation obviously has to be “perfect” to avoid having to return with missing documentation.

Firm deliverables with respect to the preparation of a NAFTA or Treaty Work Permit include:

  • Assessment if a position qualifies for an LMIA-exemption
  • Preparation of government forms where applicable
  • Preparation of a CIC-compliant offer letter for LMIA-exemption
  • Preclearance filing to the Temporary Foreign Workers Unit (for advance approval)
  • Point-of-Entry filing (for approval at the Canadian border/airport)
  • Assembly of relevant supporting documentation with firm cover letter
  • Write-up and submission of employer forms
  • Interview preparation at the border with Dos and Don’ts
  • Preparation and submission of the foreign worker’s work permit
  • Post filing correspondence with ESDC and Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC)