Work Visas for Canadians Under NAFTA 2.0 (USMCA) Remain Strong

Published on: May 4th, 2020

The USA has cleared the way for its long-awaited trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to go into effect July 1, 2020. While many are referring to the new USMCA as NAFTA 2.0, there a few differences between the two agreements, but the ability for Canadian citizens to obtain work permits to the USA remains unchanged. 

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Previous NAFTA work permit regulations between Canada, Mexico, and the USA are protected under the new USMCA trilateral agreement. 

The NAFTA regulations for Canadians who want to work in the USA are simplified when compared to traditional work permits, in an effort to promote easier access to the labour markets between the three countries. NAFTA work permits are, most notably, Labour Market Impact Assessment exempt.

An LMIA exempt work permit means an employer simply needs to provide a job offer to a potential candidate, and they do not need to demonstrate a citizen of their own country could not be found.

NAFTA visa types

While permanent residents of Canada are not eligible for NAFTA/USMCA work permits, they are after they become Canadian citizens, which requires residing in Canada for three years, in the last five year period.

Summary: 

  • You must be a citizen of the USA, Canada, or Mexico to be eligible
  • For the professional category, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer for a position eligible under NAFTA (excluding intercompany transferees)
  • A NAFTA Work Permit does not require an LMIA

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