In 1994, the United States, Mexico and Canada created the largest free trade region in the world with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), generating economic growth and helping to raise the standard of living for the people of all three member countries. Nevertheless, in November 2018 the NAFTA was renamed and changed to the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
One of the biggest benefits of CUSMA is that it permits citizens of U.S and Mexico to temporarily enter Canada for work while being exempted for a Labor Market Impact Assessment or otherwise what is known is a LMIA. Typically, a LMIA is required for majority of Canadian work permits which can be an extremely lengthily and expensive procedure. Fortunately, an exemption of a LMIA under CUSMA diminishes this burden.
Eligibility Requirements for CUSMA
- Must be a citizen of the US or Mexico
- Must have a job offer in one of the sixty NAFTA occupations
- Must have the qualifications for the occupation specified in the NAFTA agreement.
Under CUSMA there are four classifications business individuals included in this agreement:
- Business Visitors: Involved in research and design activities; development, production, marketing; sales; distribution; post-sale service; and general service.
- Professionals: Enter an agreement contract with a Canadian employer to provide professional services as a compensated employee of a Canadian business or through agreement with their American or Mexican employer as well as Canadian business
- Intra-Company Transferees: Employed in a managerial or executive position or with specialized knowledge by a US or Mexican company and transferred to a Canadian company, branch or subsidiary in order to offer comparable services.
- Traders and Investors: Carries out or has committed to contributing a considerable capital investment in Canada to a substantial trade in goods or services between the United States and Canada or between Canada and Mexico; should be employed through management or executive capacity or by critical skills.
Out of the four categories, business visitors are the only group exempt from requiring a work permit to carry out their activities in Canada. On the other hand, work permits are mandatory for professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors. That being said, CUSMA expedite the application procedure & individuals may apply from port of entry.