CUSMA/ NAFTA Work Permits

CUSMA/ NAFTA Work Permits

The Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) integrates the three countries into a unified trade bloc to develop the North American region. It aims to lower or eliminate trade barriers and reduce tariffs on specific goods. The new treaty substitutes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that existed for more than two decades.

NAFTA is also instrumental in creating specialized work opportunities for eligible citizens of the region by offering CUSMA / NAFTA work permits. Any experienced immigration professional can assist you in creating an application for the relevant immigration program to study, work, and settle in Canada.


CUSMA work permits allow the US and Mexican citizens to move into Canada to seek business and investment options. Canadian employers can directly hire them as most CUSMA work permits do not mandate a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment.

The applicant must qualify for all work permit requirements, applicable from time to time. You can apply for a CUSMA work permit at the Port of Entry because there is no need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).  

The following situations offer provisions for work authorization in Canada to permanent residents and citizens of the US and Mexico:

  • Business visitors
  • Intra-company transferees
  • Professionals 
  • Traders and Investors

 Business visitors

It is the only CUSMA category requiring no work permit to enter Canada. All other CUSMA programs mandate a work permit to immigrate to Canada by leveraging the provisions of CUSMA benefits. The business visitors should have the objective to carry out activities that relate to international business. The principal business location and the source of remuneration of the business visitor must be outside Canada.

Business visitors can come to Canada to participate in business exhibitions or perform various business-related activities. The work permit requirement does not apply here since the business persons will not be part of the Canadian labor market.

Intra-company transferees

Individuals, who need to come to Canada through transfer from the office in the US or Mexico to the Canadian office are eligible under this provision. They do not need Labor Market Impact Assessment if the organization successfully demonstrates the association between the establishments. However, they must obtain a valid work permit to work in Canada.

Besides being a citizen of the US or Mexico, the individual must be in continuous employment in the organization for a minimum of twelve months. They should be working as managers or executives and possess specialized skills or knowledge. Three years is the maximum validity period of CUSMA Intra Company Transferee Work Permit. The individual may apply for an extension up to two years after this period.


Professional workers from the US and Canada can leverage the provisions of the CUSMA treaty and apply for a Canadian work permit without the LMIA requirement. The main criterion for eligibility is a proven work experience in specific occupations. There are 60 targeted professions like an architect, economist, computer systems analyst, industrial designer, lawyer, and management consultant, to name a few. Additionally, there are many professions from the following categories:

  • Scientific
  • Healthcare and allied medical professions
  • Scientists
  • Academics

Individuals who wish to work in Canada under the CUSMA Professionals program should have a valid job offer by a Canadian employer relevant to the profession. They can apply for a Canadian work permit without an LMIA approval. The following are general eligibility criteria for this program:

  • Proof to establish Mexican or American citizenship
  • Proof of employment to demonstrate the type of profession
  • Proof of qualification in the specific profession
  • Valid job offer by a Canadian employer

Traders AND Investors 

Traders from the US and Mexico can legally work in Canada if they trade in goods, forming a bulk trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico. The investors should prove that they have a significant investment in any existing or new Canadian business. Primary employees of the investors can also be eligible to obtain work permits by satisfying necessary criteria.

SunnySpire is your reliable resource for any work permit assistance. Call us today to explore our wide gamut of immigration services to help you work, study, and settle in Canada.

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