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How to come to Canada through CUSMA

Citizens of the United States and Mexico can obtain a Canadian work permit under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Work permits issued under CUSMA are not usually subject to a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Regardless, workers and employers who use the CUSMA programme must follow all Canadian laws governing temporary work.

Because Americans and Mexicans do not need a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada, applications for a CUSMA work permit can be made at any Port of Entry or at a Visa office.

There are four categories of temporary work covered under CUSMA:

  • CUSMA Professional
  • CUSMA Intra-Company transfer
  • CUSMA Traders
  • CUSMA Investors

Canada CUSMA Professionals

A CUSMA Professional is a qualified applicant for one of approximately 60 targeted professions. They must have a job lined up in Canada that matches their qualifications. Depending on the profession, an applicant may be required to provide proof of education or work experience in the field.

To be eligible under the CUSMA professional category, a person must:

  • Be a citizen of the US or Mexico;
  • Have a profession identified in the list below;
  • Be qualified to work in that profession (degree or certification in a related educational program);
  • Have pre-arranged employment with a Canadian employer;
  • Have provision of professional-level services in the field of qualification; and
  • Be in compliance with existing immigration requirements for temporary entry.

Canada CUSMA Intra-company transfers

A CUSMA intra-company transfer occurs when an employee transfers to Canada to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their US or Mexican employer who meets the ICT requirements. The transferee must have worked continuously for their US or Mexican employer in a similar position to the work being done in Canada for at least one of the last three years and be employed at the time of application.

The transferee must have specialised knowledge of the enterprise’s products, services, processes, and procedures or be in a managerial or executive role.

Canada CUSMA Traders

A CUSMA trader is someone who comes to Canada to conduct business between Canada and their home country, either the United States or Mexico.

A businessperson must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the CUSMA trader LMIA exemption:

  • Be a citizen of either the US or Mexico;
  • Be employed by an American or Mexican company (the majority of the company must be owned by persons of American or Mexican citizenship); and
  • Be employed in a supervisory or executive position, or have duties that require essential skills to the business.

Furthermore, the primary business activities of the company that employs the business person must involve substantial trade of goods or services, with the trade primarily between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

CUSMA Investors

A CUSMA Investor is someone who has made a significant investment in a new or existing Canadian business and is coming to Canada to develop and direct it. In order to be “developing and directing” the business, the investor must have a controlling stake in the company.

Several factors are considered when determining whether an investor falls into this category, such as their title, position in the company’s hierarchy, job duties, and so on. CUSMA investors typically do not participate in the hands-on activities of the business.

Rajdeep Kaur
Author: Rajdeep Kaur

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