Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force on September 21, 2017. CETA, like NAFTA is a Trade Agreement, part of which allows for certain category of European citizens of member states to work in Canada without the need for Labour Market Impact Assessment.
CETA allows for the entry to Canada of 3 broad categories:
- Key personnel: including intra-company transferees, investors, and business visitors
- Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals; and
- Short-term business visitors.
INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREES (ICT)
Intra-company transferees must:
- have been employed by an enterprise of, or have been partners in an enterprise of, an EU member state for at least one year; and
- be temporarily transferred to an enterprise (that may be a subsidiary, branch, or head company of the enterprise) in Canada.
CETA allows for ICTs in the following categories:
- Senior Personnel Specialists; and
- Graduate trainees.
In order to qualify under CETA, Graduate trainees must be:
- temporarily transferred to a Canadian company for career development purposes or to obtain training in business techniques or methods and
- must possess a university degree.
Graduate trainees are eligible for CETA ICT work permits with a maximum duration of 1 year with no possibility of an extension.
Senior personnel and specialists
In order to qualify under CETA, Specialized Knowledge workers must possess either “uncommon knowledge of the enterprise’s products or services and its application in international markets” or “an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the enterprise’s processes and procedures such as its production, research equipment, techniques, or management.”
Under CETA, senior personnel are parallel to the “executive capacity” position under the regular Intra-Company Transfer program. Specialists are parallel to workers with “specialized knowledge.”
Senior Personnel and Specialists under CETA are eligible for work permits for the lesser of 3 year or the length of the contract.
CETA allows for work permit extensions of up to 18 months at the officer’s discretion.
Under the general ICT provisions Specialized Knowledge workers must be paid at a minimum the prevailing wage for the position. It appears that Specialized knowledge workers under CETA do not have to be paid the prevailing wage to qualify. However, wage is an important indicator of specialized knowledge.
Spouses of high skilled workers are eligible for open work permits.
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; and
- are employed by an enterprise that has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital.
Under CETA, there are two categories of business visitors: short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes.
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.
SHORT-TERM BUSINESS VISITORS
The eligible activities for business visitors are different in CETA than under NAFTA. It includes categories for meetings and consultations, as well as training seminars.
- Meetings and consultations
- Research and design
- Marketing research
- Training seminars
- Trade fairs and exhibitions
- After-sales or after-lease service
- Commercial transactions
- Tourism personnel
- Translation and interpretation
The activities listed below apply to short-term business visitors from an EU member state entering
BUSINESS VISITORS FOR INVESTMENT PURPOSES
A business visitor for investment purposes is an employee in a managerial or specialist position who is responsible for setting up an enterprise but who does not engage in direct transactions with the general public and will not receive direct or indirect remuneration from a Canadian source. Canada.
CONTRACTUAL SERVICE SUPPLIERS & INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONALS
CETA, like NATFA and other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) allows for the entry of certain European Professionals to Canada. CETA covers 2 types of professionals:
- Contractual Service Suppliers and
- Independent Professionals.
CETA Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals cannot be employed by the Canadian company contracting for their service. Their services must be provided under contract with the Canadian company either through their European employer, or as a self-employed person. CETA Professional work permits are limited to a maximum cumulative period of 12-months in any 24-month period. Any work permit extensions are discretionary and would require submission by the employer of a new Offer of Employment through the Employer Portal.
Applicants under CETA must be citizens of a European Union member state and they must possess a university degree or a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognized institution in an approved discipline, in the case of engineering and scientific technologists. Applicants must also have professional qualifications to practice if required by the province or territory where the service is being supplied.
In order to qualify under this provision, the Contractual Service Supplier or Independent Professionals’ occupation must fall under a qualifying service sector and within an eligible NOC. Eligible Contractual Service Suppliers and Independent Professionals are limited to those service sectors set out in s. 9 and s. 10 of Annex 10-E.
Additional Criteria – Contractual Service Suppliers
In order to qualify under the CETA Professional category, Contractual Service Suppliers must be employed by a European company with a contract to supply a service to a Canadian consumer. The European company cannot have an establishment in Canada.
In addition to the general criteria described above, in order to qualify under CETA, Contractual Service Suppliers must:
- have been employed by the European company for at least 1 year prior to the application;
- possess at least 3 years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract; and
- Only be remunerated for their supply service in Canada by the European employer on a temporary basis as an employee under a service contract.
Additional Criteria – Independent Professionals
Independent Professionals under CETA are defined as self-employed professionals who are contracted to provide a service to a Canadian consumer. In addition to the general criteria described above, in order to qualify under CETA, Independent Professionals must:
- be engaged in the supply of a service on a temporary basis as a self-employed person; and
- possess at least 6 years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract.
Professionals who are not eligible under CETA might be eligible under one of the International Mobility Programs:
Global Skills Strategy Short-Term Occupation (work permit exempt)
- Francophone Mobility Program
- NAFTA or other Free Trade Agreement
- International Experience Class
- Significant Economic, Social or Cultural Benefit to Canada
- GATTs Intra-Company Transferee
Please note that the above list is not a complete list of LMIA exempt work permit programs. Professionals who do not qualify under one of the aforementioned programs may require a Labour Market Impact Assessment to work in Canada.