Work or Establish a Business in Canada Under CUSMA or Other Free Trade Agreements
Business Immigration | CUSMA/NAFTA | Canada FTAs
Canada is often celebrated for their breadth of business immigration options. Yet, some of the lesser-known options are those made possible under one of the country’s many International Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
While specific requirements vary by FTA, they all pave the way for businesspersons to enter the country on a temporary basis. Most people pursuing this option will still require a work permit but as FTAs are part of the International Mobility Program (IMP), the positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement is waived.
An LMIA is often required when a foreign worker seeks to enter the country in order to ensure their impact will be beneficial, or at least neutral, to the overall labour market. Thanks to strong international ties, this is not required when entering or immigrating under any of the FTAs.
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)
The agreement formerly known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was superseded by the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) on July 1, 2020. This is the most expansive FTA in the country. As the name implies, this agreement applies to nationals of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
While there are many differences between NAFTA and CUSMA, the 4 categories of businesspersons that are allowed temporary entry remain unchanged. These are
- business visitors
- intra-company transferees, and
- traders and investors
While all of these options provide temporary entry to work, the last two may provide a suitable option to set up a business. This is of course dependent on your specific profession, experience, and circumstances, and can also rely on whether or not you have an established entity in your current country.
Other Free Trade Agreements
CUSMA isn’t the only agreement that provides these options for workers and potentially for entrepreneurs.
Those that have the greatest similarities and most expansive potential pathways include
- Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and
- Canada-Chile, Canada-Peru, Canada-Colombia & Canada-Korea FTAs
View the full list of FTAs for more details on their specific requirements.
Business Support for FTA Entrants
If you do plan to utilize options under an FTA to work or establish a business in Canada, Joorney Canada can help! We assist applicants and employers – often through their immigration consultant or immigration lawyer – with creating the business-critical documents they need for any step of the process.
Disclaimer: Joorney Business Plans Canada is not an immigration consultant, lawyer, or advisor and cannot be held responsible for damages incurred from the use of this information. If you require more information about a program or your specific immigration case, please contact a registered immigration professional.