Entering into force on September 21st, 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) offers Canadian businesses preferential access to the EU market and excellent growth opportunities in this region.
Under this agreement, 98% of goods produced in Canada and imported into Europe are exempt from customs duties, which could reach 25%.
In addition to helping Canadian entrepreneurs reach more than half a billion consumers, CETA greatly facilitates the obtaining of a temporary work permit in Canada for certain categories of European workers, if they meet the eligibility criteria. The advantage being that these work permits are exempt from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process and most Europeans can apply for the work permit upon arriving in Canada directly, having all the required documents in hand. This has the advantage of greatly reducing administrative delays for these workers.
CETA covers two types of professionals, among others: contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.
General criteria : in order to be eligible for CETA, the worker must :
- Be a citizen of an EU country (note: UK applications no longer fall under CETA but are handled under the new Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement);
- Provide service on a temporary basis for a period not exceeding 12 months (if the period exceeds 12 months, CETA commitments will only apply to the first 12 months of the contract);
- Contractually provide a service in accordance with the CETA Annex 10-E concordance table;
- Have a university degree or a title demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level;
- Possess all the professional qualifications required to carry out activities in the Canadian province or territory involved.
It is important to note that Europeans subject to CETA may remain in Canada for a total of twelve (12) months over a 24-month period, or for the duration of the employment contract, whichever is shorter. Should the temporary foreign worker need to stay longer, it is possible to request an extension. However, extensions cannot exceed the 24 month period. For example, a French citizen arriving under CETA for a 6-month contract in September 2022 will be able to renew his work permit for the time necessary to complete his contract, but he will not be able to renew it beyond September 2024.
Contractual service providers : additional eligibility criteria
Candidates who fall into this category must meet the additional criteria:
- Temporarily provide a service to a Canadian business for a company that has obtained a service contract;
- Be employed by the EU-based company for at least one year prior to the date of submission of the application;
- Have at least three years of professional experience in the field related to the service contract, on the date of submission of the application;
- Not to receive additional remuneration to his regular salary paid by the European company.
Independent professionals: additional eligibility criteria
Applicants who fall into this category must meet the following additional criteria:
- Temporarily provide a service to a Canadian business as an independent entrepreneur;
- Have at least six years of professional experience in the field related to the service contract, on the date of submission of the application.