How the Pros Get Into Canada: 5 FAQs About the NAFTA Professional Work Permit
The future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including NAFTA’s immigration-related provisions allowing cross-border mobility between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, is uncertain. But for now, it’s still in play. In its current form, NAFTA allows qualified U.S. and Mexican citizens in certain “designated professions” to temporarily enter Canada for work under the “NAFTA professional work permit” without requiring the employer to obtain the federal government’s permission in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Avoiding the LMIA process is a significant benefit for employers, saving them time, effort – and money. The financial savings can be significant: the federal government charges employers a non-refundable fee (currently $1,000) for each position it seeks to fill with a foreign national for which an LMIA is required; this is in addition to any legal fees an employer might incur for advice in the preparation or review of its LMIA application.
Here are the answers to five questions that Canadian employers seeking to recruit professional foreign nationals from the U.S. and Mexico frequently ask about the NAFTA professional work permit path to Canada.
- What are the criteria to qualify for a NAFTA professional work permit?
- What are the “designated professions” under NAFTA?
- How does an applicant for a NAFTA professional work permit apply at the “port of entry”?
- Can a person who enters Canada on a NAFTA professional work permit be self-employed in Canada?
- When can a NAFTA professional work permit holder apply for permanent residence in Canada?