Potential Changes to NAFTA Could Have Significant Impacts on Obtaining Canadian Work Permits

By Bryan D. Portas, Brian Dingle and Darren McGuire © 2017 Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Mar 10, 2017
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President Donald Trump frequently raised the issue of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during his campaign. Since taking office, he has renewed his criticism and intent to renegotiate NAFTA. As we previously reported in The Historic 2016 United States Elections: Canada and the United States—Forward Together, any changes to NAFTA could have significant impacts on business immigration between Canada and the U.S. Companies have long used NAFTA to facilitate the temporary entry of certain categories of workers such as intra-company transferees and professionals. President Trump's campaign promise to "Make America Great Again," may not be so great for citizens of the U.S. or Mexico that are currently eligible to use NAFTA provisions to obtain temporary Work Permits for Canada. Although the potential impacts to NAFTA are unknown, foreign nationals considering a Canadian Work Permit application using the benefits afforded under NAFTA, may wish to take steps to apply sooner rather than later.

The Canadian government has also implemented changes in the area of immigration, although considerably less drastic. For example, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada implemented changes to the Express Entry system on Nov. 19, 2016. These changes were part of the government's targeted improvements to support Canada's Global Skills Strategy. New Ministerial instructions were released that amended the Comprehensive Ranking System point allocation scheme. Although some of these allocations may be considered a welcome change by some applicants, and increase their likelihood of receiving an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence, the changes can have adverse effects on other applicants.

In addition, the leniency period is now over for the electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) entry requirement. This leniency period, which was originally set to end on Sept. 29, 2016, was extended to give travelers and airlines more time to prepare for the changes. Effective Nov. 9, 2016, visa exempt foreign nationals (including British citizens) who fly to or transit through Canada are required to have an eTA. You can find further details on these changes in Immigration Update: Changes to the Express Entry System and Electronic Travel Authorization Reminder.

Bryan D. Portas is an attorney in Calgary, Brian Dingle is an attorney in Toronto and Darren McGuire is an attorney in the Montreal offices of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. © 2017 Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.

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