Canada–European Union Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CETA)

The Canada–European Union Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CETA) allows certain service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors to work in Canada without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

CETA is a free trade agreement between Canada, the EU, and its member states. It came into force in 2017.

The LMIA process requires a potential employer in Canada to undergo a rigorous recruitment procedure before they may hire a foreign worker. The fact that CETA facilitates the LMIA-exempt hiring of certain Europeans is therefore beneficial to employers and eligible workers alike. LMIA-exempt work permits are issued through the International Mobility Program.

In all cases, the worker or business visitor seeking entry into the Canadian labour market under the provisions of CETA must be a citizen of an EU member state. Moreover, with the exception of business visitors, a formal offer of employment must be submitted through the Employer Portal.

 

Independent professionals and contractual service providers

Applicants in either category of professionals must be contracted to provide a service in accordance with the list of occupations and table. Applicants must also be engaged in the temporary supply of a service for a period not exceeding 12 months; if longer than 12 months, the commitments in CETA will only apply for the initial 12 months of the contract.

 

Independent professionals

Independent professional means a self-employed professional who has a contract to supply a service to a Canadian consumer.

The applicant must:

  • be engaged in the supply of a service on a temporary basis as a self-employed person; and
  • possess at least six years of professional experience in the sector of activity which is the subject of the contract.

 

Contractual service providers

A contractual service supplier is an employee of an enterprise in the EU who has a contract to supply a service to a Canadian consumer. The EU enterprise cannot have an establishment in Canada.

The applicant must:

  • be engaged in the supply of a service on a temporary basis as an employee of an enterprise which has obtained a service contract;
  • have been an employee of the EU-headquartered enterprise for at least one year prior to application;
  • possess three years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract; and

not receive remuneration for the provision of services other than the remuneration paid by the enterprise employing the contractual service suppliers during the stay in Canada.

Eligible occupations

 

More info & summary

Independent professionalsService providers
LMIA required
Work permit required
Max duration of stay12 months in any 24-month period12 months in any 24-month period
WP extension possible
Minimum educationUniversity degree or equivalent*University degree or equivalent*
Employment offer required
Spouse/partner eligible for WP

*Some categories of engineering and scientific technologists are eligible to enter Canada as professionals without a university degree.

 

Intra-Company Transfers

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.

The applicant must belong to one of the following categories:

  • Senior personnel and specialists
  • Graduate trainees

Intra-company transferees under the CETA are exempt from meeting Canada’s prevailing wage requirements.

 

Senior personnel and specialists

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.”

 

Graduate trainees

CETA also provides for intra-company transfers for eligible graduate trainees, a provision not included in the regular Intra-Company Transfer program.

In addition to the criteria outlined above, graduate trainee applicants must:

  • possess a university degree; and
  • be temporarily transferred to an enterprise in Canada for career development purposes or to obtain training in business techniques or methods.

 

More info & summary

Intra-company (senior/specialist)Intra-company (graduate)
LMIA required
Work permit required
Max duration of stayUp to 3 yearsUp to 1 year
WP extension possible
Minimum educationNoneUniversity degree
Employment offer required
Spouse/partner eligible for WP✓*✓*

*Spouses of intra-company transferees who are citizens of the UK or Denmark are not eligible for the CETA spousal provision.

 

Investors

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.

More information on CETA investors may be found in the table at the end of the section below (Business visitors).

 

Business visitors

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 list of eligible activities for business visitors is different in CETA than under NAFTA. For example, it includes categories for meetings and consultations, as well as training seminars. In addition, the description of after-sales service was modified to also include after-lease services.

The activities listed below apply to short-term business visitors from an EU member state entering Canada.

  • Meetings and consultations: natural persons attending meetings or conferences, or engaged in consultations with business associates.
  • Research and design: technical, scientific and statistical researchers conducting independent research or research for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be conducting research in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state.
  • Marketing research: market researchers and analysts conducting research or analysis for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be conducting research or analysis in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state.
  • Training seminars: personnel of an enterprise who enters the territory of the other country to receive training in techniques and work practices who are employed by companies or organizations in that Party, provided that the training received is confined to observation, familiarization and classroom instruction only.
  • Trade fairs and exhibitions: personnel attending a trade fair for the purpose of promoting their company or its products or services.
  • Sales: representatives of a supplier of services or goods taking orders or negotiating the sale of services or goods or entering into agreements to sell services or goods for that supplier, but not delivering goods or supplying services themselves. Short-term business visitors do not engage in making direct sales to the general public.
  • Purchasing: buyers purchasing goods or services for an enterprise, or management and supervisory personnel, engaging in a commercial transaction carried out in the territory of the other Party.
  • After-sales or after-lease service: installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors, possessing specialized knowledge essential to a seller’s contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform services, pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale or lease of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery, including computer software, purchased or leased from an enterprise located outside the territory of the Party into which temporary entry is sought, throughout the duration of the warranty or service contract.
  • Commercial transactions: management and supervisory personnel and financial services personnel (including insurers, bankers and investment brokers) engaging in a commercial transaction for an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party.
  • Tourism personnel: tour and travel agents, tour guides or tour operators attending or participating in conventions or accompanying a tour that has begun in the territory of the other Party.
  • Translation and interpretation: translators or interpreters performing services as employees of an enterprise located in the territory of the other Party. This means that the applicant would be translating or interpreting in Canada, for an enterprise headquartered within an EU member state.

 

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.

 

More info & summary

InvestorsBusiness visitors
LMIA required
Work permit required
Max duration of stayUp to 1 year90 days in any 6-month period
WP extension possibleN/A
Minimum educationNoneNone
Employment offer required
Spouse/partner eligible for WP

Assessment Form: