Trade Agreements

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There are certain programs, by which IRCC facilitates entry of foreign workers from countries which are under trade agreements. In these programs, employers are exempted from LMIA process.

Under CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement), IRCC facilitates entry for eligible business persons who are citizens of Canada and EU member states by removing the requirement for Labour Market Impact Assessments. There are four sub-categories as following:

1. Business Visitors

Under this program, all CETA business visitors may seek entry to Canada for a number of regular visits related to a specific project. These visits may take place over a period of weeks or months.

2. Contractual service suppliers and Independent professionals.

The CETA covers two types of professionals: contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.

Applicants in both categories of professionals must be:

  • citizens of a European Union member state
  • engaged in the temporary supply of a service for a period not exceeding 12 months
    • If longer than 12 months, the commitments in CETA will only apply for the initial 12 months of the contract
  • contracted to provide a service in accordance with the Annex 10-E concordance table

Both must possess:

  • a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level
  • professional qualifications if required to practice an activity pursuant to the laws or requirements in the province or territory where the service is supplied.

3. Investor category

The investor provisions of CETA apply to applicants who:

  • will establish, develop, or administer the operation of an investment in a capacity that is supervisory or executive
  • are the investor
  • are employed by an enterprise that has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital

Length of stay: One year, with possible extensions at the officer’s discretion, if applicant is able to provide documentation that satisfies the processing officer of their need to have their stay extended.


4. The intra-corporate (company) transferee

The provisions of CETA, described under the key personnel category, are similar to currently existing intra-company transfer program, with the addition of graduate trainees.

Criteria for intra-corporate (company) transferees

All intra-corporate (company) transferees must

  • be currently employed by an enterprise of a European Union (EU) member state or be a partner in an enterprise of an EU member state and have been employed or a partner for at least 1 year at the time of submitting the application
  • be temporarily transferred to an enterprise (may be a subsidiary, branch or head company of the enterprise) in Canada

The applicant must belong to one of the following categories:

  • senior personnel
  • specialists
  • graduate trainees



The NAFTA seeks to liberalize trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and abolish tariffs and other trade barriers. The Agreement opens up the three countries’ markets by ensuring that future laws will not create barriers to doing business. An American or Mexican business person seeking entry to Canada is eligible for consideration under the provisions of the NAFTA, as well as the general provisions which apply to all foreign workers.

  • NAFTA facilitates temporary entry for business persons who are citizens of the U.S., Mexico and Canada and who are involved in the trade of goods or services, or in investment activities.
  • NAFTA removes the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for all business persons covered by the Agreement.
  • In the case of a business visitor, it removes the need for a work permit.
  • For professionals and intra-company transferees, it expedites the application process because one can apply at the port of entry (POE), (note that nationals who require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, however, should apply at a visa office prior to coming to Canada).

Intra-Company transfers

Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision if they

  • are currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
  • are transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);
  • are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application. Extensions may be granted up to the five- and seven-year maximums referred to in the section breaks, recaptured time and duration of work permit limit below and in the section on the categories of work with validity periods which may not be exceeded. Documented time spent outside Canada during the duration of the work permit can be “recaptured” to allow the intra-company transferee five or seven full years of physical presence in Canada;
  • are coming to Canada for a temporary period only;
  • comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.

Duration of work permits


  • Initial work permit: one year
  • For renewals, evidence should be provided that
    • the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;
    • the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year;
    • the new office has been staffed.

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By Appointment Only
Unit 202-E 7337, 137 St, Surrey, BC, Canada V3W1A4
+1 (343) 333 3264

Send Your Query