How to come to Canada via CUSMA


Posted Aug 23, 2022 7:07 a.m. EDT

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), citizens of the United States and Mexico can obtain a Canadian work permit. CUSMA work permits generally do not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Despite this, workers and employers using the CUSMA program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada.

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U.S. and Mexican citizens do not need a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, so CUSMA work permit applications can be made at any port of entry or US office. visas.

There are four categories of temporary work covered by CUSMA:

  • CUSMA Professional
  • CUSMA intra-company transfer
  • CUSMA Traders
  • CUSMA Investors

CUSMA Professionals

A CUSMA professional is a candidate who qualifies to work in one of approximately 60 targeted occupations. They must have pre-arranged employment in Canada that matches their qualifications. Depending on the profession, an applicant may need to show proof of degrees or work experience in the field.

To be eligible under the CUSMA Professional Category, a person must:

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

CUSMA Intra-Corporate Transfers

A CUSMA Intra-Corporate Transfer is a worker transferred to Canada to work for a branch, subsidiary or affiliate of their US or Mexican employer who meets ICT requirements. The transferee must have worked continuously for their US or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three years in a position similar to the work performed in Canada and be employed at the time of the application.

The assignee must have a management or leadership role, or demonstrate specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, processes and procedures.

CUSMA Traders

A CUSMA trader is someone who comes to Canada to trade goods or services between Canada and their country of citizenship, either the United States or Mexico.

To qualify for the LMIA Merchant Exemption from CUSMA, a business person must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States or Mexico;
  • Be employed by an American or Mexican company (the majority of the company must be owned by persons of American or Mexican nationality); and
  • Be employed in a supervisory or managerial position, or have functions that require skills essential to the business.

In addition, the principal business activities of the business that employs the businessman must involve substantial trade in goods or services, and the trade must be primarily between the United States or Mexico and Canada.

CUSMA Investors

A CUSMA investor is someone who has made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and is coming to Canada to develop and run the business. In order to « grow and lead » the business, the investor must demonstrate that he owns a controlling interest in the business.

Various factors are taken into account to determine whether an investor belongs to this category, such as his title, his place in the hierarchy of the company, his functions, etc. Usually, CUSMA investors do not participate in the practical activities of the company.

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