In A Flash

New Trade Agreement Makes Canada More Accessible to Foreign Professionals

On December 30, 2018 the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”) came into force presenting new opportunities for facilitating the temporary entry of “business persons” into Canada from 10 signatory countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Specifically, the CPTPP removes the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); a process whereby employers are required to first demonstrate that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is able to fulfill the role a foreign national will be occupying before the foreign national can apply for a work permit. Instead, under the CPTPP, business persons in the categories below are able to obtain LMIA-exempt work permits through Canada’s International Mobility Program:

  • Intra-Corporate Transferees: Executives/Managers/Specialists/Management Trainees who are employed by an enterprise in the territory of a party and who are seeking to render services to a parent/subsidiary/affiliate in Canada (applicable to citizens of Australia/Mexico/ New Zealand/Japan)
  • Investors: Such as an executive of a company that has committed a substantial amount of capital in a country (applicable to citizens of Australia, Japan, Mexico or Vietnam)
  • Highly Skilled Professionals and Technicians: Such as engineers, actuaries, graphic designers and architectural technologists. Canada’s commitments vary with each signatory country with respect to recognized professions and eligibility requirements (applicable to citizens of Australia/Japan/Mexico)

Commitments with other signatory countries are not yet established but are anticipated.

Under the CPTPP, “business persons” also include visitors engaging in business-related activities such as attending meetings and seminars or conducting market research. These individuals will not be issued work permits and will be permitted to perform business activities with a visitor permit. Canada’s commitments for business visitors currently apply to citizens of Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

The  commitments above are consistent with the approach taken in other trade agreements and are based on the principle of reciprocity, meaning that the access Canada grants to other CPTPP parties will be the same as that which Canada receives from those parties.

It is anticipated that by creating LMIA-exempt routes to work permits for foreign workers of signatory countries, the CPTPP will facilitate economic growth by providing Canadian business with easier access to foreign professionals.

Employers with questions or concerns about the effect of this decision on their current practices are encouraged to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer .

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