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CETA Work Permits

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a multilateral trade agreement negotiated between Canada and the European Union (EU). The agreement came into effect on September 21st, 2017. CETA provides unique opportunities EU citizens to work in Canada. Those foreign nationals covered by CETA provisions may be eligible to work in Canada without the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or a even a work permit.

CETA establishes four situations wherein an EU citizen may be eligible for facilitated access to Canadian work authorization:

Did you know? The majority of European Union member states enable citizens to travel and work temporarily in Canada through International Experience Canada.

Eligibility requirements for the CETA categories are outlined below along with the CETA Application Procedures.

Business Visitors

Business visitors under CETA are eligible for short-term entry to Canada without a work permit or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Business visitors are authorized for a maximum of 90 days in any six month period. CETA business visitors may seek multiple entries to Canada for a series of regular visits pertaining to a specific project.

Under CETA, there are two categories of business visitors:

  1. Business visitors for investment purposes: This category refers to employees in managerial or specialist positions who are responsible for setting up an enterprise. Business visitors in this category may not engage in direct transactions with the general public, nor may they receive remuneration from a Canadian source.
  2. Short-term business visitors: This category refers to business visitors who enter Canada to perform one of the permissible activities listed below. Short-term business visitors cannot engage in selling goods or services to the general public or receive remuneration from a Canadian source.

 

Permissible activities for CETA short-term business visitors:

  • Meetings and consultations
  • Research and design
  • Marketing research
  • Training seminars
  • Trade fairs and exhibitions
  • Sales
  • Purchasing
  • After-sales or after-lease service
  • Commercial transactions
  • Tourism personnel
  • Translation and interpretation

Note: The permissible activities for business visitors covered under CETA are different from those under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Applicants interested in travelling to Canada as a CETA business visitor, exempt from the work permit requirement, may follow the application procedures for CETA categories.

Intra-company transferees

Under CETA, intra-company transferees of enterprises located in EU nations may be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In order to be eligible for the LMIA-exemption, intra-company transferees must meet the following general criteria:

  • Must have been employed by, or partners in, an enterprise located in an EU nation for at least one year
  • Must be temporarily transferred to a Canadian enterprise with one of the following relationships to the EU enterprise: subsidiary, parent, branch, or head company.

In addition to the general criteria, intra-company transferees are divided into three categories, each encompassing its own specific requirements:

  • Senior Personnel: Equivalent to the “executive capacity” position under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Eligible for a work permit of up to 3 years with a possible extension of a maximum of 18 months.
  • Specialists: Equivalent to the “specialized knowledge” positions under NAFTA. Eligible for a work permit of up to three years with a possible extension of a maximum of 18 months.
  • Graduate Trainees: Must possess a university degree and be temporarily transferred to an enterprise in Canada for career development or business training. Eligible for a work permit of up to 1 year with no possibility for extension.

Applicants interested in applying for a CETA work permit, exempt from the LMIA-requirement, may follow the application procedures for CETA permits.

Investors

Under CETA, investors from EU member nations may be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In order to meet the CETA eligibility requirements for investors, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Involved with the establishment, development, administration, or operation of an investment in a capacity which is supervisory or executive;
  • Must be the investor;
  • Must be employed by an enterprise which has committed previously, or is currently committing, a substantial amount of capital in Canada.

Investors will be assessed using the criteria for investors described in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Investors approved through CETA may be issued LMIA-exempt work permits for a maximum of one year, with possible extensions at the discretion of a visa officer. Applicants interested in applying for a CETA work permit, exempt from the LMIA-requirement, may follow the application procedures for CETA permits.

Contractual Service Supplies and Independent Professionals

Under CETA, certain contractual service suppliers and independent professionals who are citizens of EU nations may be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In order to be eligible for the LMIA-exemption, contractual service suppliers and independent professionals must meet the following general criteria (as well as specific criteria elaborated below):

In addition to the general criteria, contractual service suppliers and independent professionals must meet further specifications:

  • Contractual Service Suppliers: An employee of an enterprise located in an EU nation with a contract to supply a service to a Canadian consumer. The EU enterprise cannot have a location in Canada. The applicant must have at least 3 years of experience in the sector of activity within which the service will be provided and must have at least 1 year of experience with the EU enterprise.
  • Independent Professionals: A self-employed professional contracted to supply a service to a Canadian consumer. Must be an established supplier of a service as a self-employed person with at least six years of experience in the section of activity within which the service will be provided.

 

 

Applicants interested in applying for a CETA work permit, exempt from the LMIA-requirement, may follow the application procedures for CETA permits.

CETA Application Procedures

Foreign nationals covered by CETA who are eligible to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit or to enter Canada without a work permit (short-term business visitors), may apply at a Canadian Port of Entry (POE). Applications for work permits may also be submitted prior to travel to the appropriate Visa Application Centre (VAC). If an EU national is already inside of Canada as an authorized temporary resident, they may be able to submit a work permit application from inside the country.

Did you know?

Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are not visa-exempt when entering Canada. This means that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria must apply for a visa to enter Canada.

Work permits issued under CETA are eligible for extensions at the discretion of an immigration officer. Intra-company transferees are eligible for a maximum extension of up to 18 months. Graduate trainees are prohibited from any extensions.

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