As a signatory to many international agreements, Canada enjoys the unique mobility of workers who satisfy the conditions outlined in the various agreements that foster trade, exchange of skills, labour and encourage mobility through the American continent.
Suitable applicants are provided with expedited handling of their visas, generally without the requirement of assessment by Service Canada. Once granted a versatile International Agreements visa, foreign workers are given the opportunity to work and live in Canada for the duration specified on their work permit and may be admissible to apply for permanent residency during the term of their stay.
Under International Mobility Program (IMP), there are several international free trade agreements which may allow applicants to use for expedited entry into Canada and are outlined below.
With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico can gain quicker and easier temporary entry into these three countries to conduct business or investment activities. Business people covered by NAFTA must, however, comply with the general provisions on temporary entry to Canada. NAFTA applies to business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors.
With the General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS), Canada has committed to making it easier for certain business people who are Foreign Service providers in certain sectors to access the Canadian market. GATS applies to service providers from more than 140 World Trade Organization member countries. GATS also applies to business visitors, professionals and intra-company transferees.
The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) makes it easier for certain Canadian and Chilean citizens to temporarily enter each of the two countries. It applies to business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors.
The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) ) allows certain Canadian and Peruvian business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, and traders and investors the opportunity to temporarily enter and work in each of the countries.
Under the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), Canadian and Colombian citizens may be allowed the temporarily enter each of the two countries as business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, traders or investors.
The recently adopted Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CSKFTA) will also allow nationals of both countries to come either as a business visitor, professional, intra-company transferee, trader or investor.
Once an International Free Trade Agreements visa has been issued, the applicant will be allowed to live and work in Canada for a specified period of time, generally between 3 months to 7 years. Their spouse and children may be eligible to work and study during their stay. While dependent on the specific job offer, it may be possible to extend the temporary work permit if the applicant wishes to continue working in Canada. An International Agreements visa may assist them towards permanent residence and may be processed in tandem with a permanent residency application, which could allow them to stay in Canada once the application has been approved.
To see a full listing of our fees and services, International Agreements Visa processing times and application costs please visit our FAQ page.