United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) came into force on July 1, 2020 and replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada, the United States, and Mexico have the largest free trade region in the world and the strongest economic ties. The new Agreement creates more balanced, reciprocal trade for workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses, raising the standard of living and ensuring economic growth to the North American economy.

Under the USMCA, Mexicans and Americans can work in Canada, without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the USMCA Professionals category. Under Chapter 16 of the USMCA, entitled “Temporary Entry for Business Persons”, a selected category of skilled occupations may access each other’s job market.

Categories of Businesspersons

Along with the requirement of being a citizen of the United States or Mexico, there are four categories depending on the type of worker:

1. USMCA Professionals

  1. USMCA professionals must have a job offer in Canada in one of the 60 NAFTA occupations to work for a Canadian enterprise under a salaried job offer
  2. Must be in a profession identified in the NAFTA occupation list
  3. Must have a qualification to work in that profession (degree or certification in a related educational program)
  4. Must have pre-arranged employment with an employer in Canada, with a provision of professional-level services in the field of qualification
  5. LMIA exempt but requires a work permit
  6. USMCA Business Visitors


1. Engage in international business activities related to research and design; growth, manufacture and production; marketing; sales; distribution; after-sales service; and general service
2. Authorized to enter Canada for business purposes under R186(a) and can carry out their activities without the need for a work permit

7. USMCA Traders / Investors

8. USMCA Traders have the intent and ability to engage in “substantial trade” (more than 50% of international trade between Canada and, the United States and Mexico) of goods or services

1. Substantial trade may be evidenced by transactions or volume being traded

2. Employing Enterprise has a majority American and Mexican nationality

  • The position must be supervisory, executive or involves specialized skills
  1. LMIA Exempt, but requires a work permit
  2. USMCA Investors must show that they have made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business

1. The investor must be coming to Canada solely to develop and direct the Canadian business

2. An investor may be an employee, but the role must be executive, supervisory or require specialized skills

  • The investor must show they have a controlling stake in the company through their title, position in the hierarchy of the business, job duties, etc.
  1. Employing Enterprise has a majority American and Mexican nationality
  2. The substantial investment must actively be made, or already made in Canada
  3. “Substantial” is the value of the investment weighed against the total value of the business, or the amount normally required for the type of venture
  • LMIA Exempt, but requires a work permit

4. USMCA Intra-company Transferees
5. Employed by an American or Mexican enterprise in a managerial or executive role, or in one which involves specialized knowledge, and are being transferred to the Canadian enterprise, branch, or affiliate to provide similar services, or
6. Opening a new office enterprise, branch, or affiliate in Canada and being transferred to perform managerial, executive or specialized work
7. LMIA Exempt, but requires a work permit

8. Provides for an initial entry of up to three years

How to Apply

  • USMCA work permits are issued by the government of Canada under the International Mobility Program (IMP)
  • Applications may be made online, at a visa office, or at a port of entry
  • Americans do not require a visa to enter Canada


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