Canada's newest trade agreement provides for exchange of foreign workers

By Catherine A. Sas Q.C.,
Special to The Post

 

On September 17, 2017 the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force providing for the exchange of services between Canada and the European Union (EU).
CETA provides for the entry of business visitors, independent professionals and contractual service providers as well as intra-company transferees. Annex 10 E provides the complete list of the occupations which are covered under the CETA agreement .

CETA is the fifth bi-lateral trade agreement that provides for the exchange of services between member nations with Canada.

Canada also has trade agreements with Chile, Columbia and Peru as well as with the USA and Mexico under NAFTA that allow for exchange of services in addition to trade. Each agreement is unique - Annex 10 E provides the complete list of the occupations which are covered under the CETA agreement

The occupations listed under the agreement are generally for highly skilled professional, academic or technical occupations with some agreements also providing for skilled tradespersons.
The CETA agreement permits entry for short term business visitors and investors without the need for a work permit. Independent professionals, contractual service providers and intra-company transferees must apply for work permits which can be done at the port of entry or at Canadian visa offices abroad.

The agreement also provides that spouses of qualifying work permit applicants can also apply for open work permits.

Trade agreements that allow for the exchange of services for specified occupations, facilitate work permit issuance for Canadians businesses without the need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which is paper intensive, costly and time consuming often taking six months or more for applications to be assessed.

CETA is the most far-reaching of all of Canada's bi-lateral trade agreements as it permits the exchange of services between Canada and all of the member nations of the EU.

Not surprisingly there are certain restrictions and limitations as to who is eligible for a work permit or for how long they may be issued a permit.

For employers struggling to locate foreign workers, trade agreements can be a speedy way to augment their labour force.
These agreements also provide an excellent way for international businesses to establish in Canada and transfer experienced personnel as intra-company transferees. For any business facing labour shortages, becoming familiar with Canada's trade agreements may be a good way to locate foreign workers to bring to Canada in a more streamlined fashion than the LMIA application process.

 

Read more about the CETA agreement http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ceta-aecg/text-texte/10-A.aspx?lang=eng#e

 

Catherine Sas, Q.C. has over 25 years of legal experience. She provides a full range of immigration services and is a leading immigration practitioner (Lexpert, Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers in Canada). Go to www.canadian-visa-lawyer.com or email casas@shaw.ca.

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