CETA: a temporary Canadian work visa for contractual services suppliers and independent professionals

As part of the multilateral trade agreement that exists between Canada and the European Union, foreign nationals from the EU are able to work in Canada through the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) if they qualify for one of the categories. What’s particularly advantageous about the two (2) categories that we’ll discuss today is that they are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process and are unique in the Canadian Foreign Temporary Worker program.

CETA general eligibility criteria

Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals from any industry listed on this page are eligible to work in Canada via CETA if they qualify to the other conditions. Whether an applicant is a supplier who works for a larger company or a self-employed individual, they must:

  • Be a citizen of an EU country (note: applications from the UK no longer fall under CETA, and are instead processed under the new Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement)
  • Be engaged in the temporary supply of a service for a maximum of 12 months
  • Have a university degree or equivalent
  • Possess any professional qualifications required to carry out business in the relevant Canadian province or territory

Foreign nationals can remain in Canada on a CETA permit for 12 months out of a 24-month period, or for the duration of the work contract (whichever time period is shorter). Extensions are granted in certain situations, as long as they do not extend beyond the 24-month window.

Contractual service suppliers: additional eligibility criteria

A contractual service supplier is someone who is employed by an EU company and contracted to supply a service to a Canadian customer. The EU-based enterprise cannot have any locations in Canada.

Applicants who fall under this category must also:

  • Be temporarily supplying a service to a Canadian company for an enterprise that has obtained a service contract
  • Have been employed by the EU-based company for at least one year prior to the application submission date
  • Have at least three years of professional experience in the field related to the service contract as of the application submission date
  • Not be receiving any additional remuneration on top of their regular salary
  • Foreign nationals can remain in Canada on a CETA permit for 12 months out of a 24-month period, or for the duration of the work contract (whichever time period is shorter). Extensions are granted in certain situations, as long as they do not extend beyond the 24-month window.

Independent professionals: additional eligibility criteria

An independent professional is any self-employed person who has a service contract with a Canadian enterprise.

Applicants who fall under this category must also:

  • Be temporarily supplying a service to a Canadian company as an independent contractor
  • Have at least six years of professional experience in the field related to the service contract as of the application submission date

NAFTA Investor eligibility requirements

Applicants for this International Mobility Program must be:

  • An American or Mexican citizen
  • An executive or supervisor or specialized worker
  • Employed by an American or Mexican company that has made, or is currently making, a substantial investment in a Canadian business
  • Seeking to enter Canada for the sole purpose of “developing and directing” the enterprise in which the American or Mexican company has invested (i.e. own at least 50% of its shares)
  • Able to meet any other requirements regarding their temporary entry into Canada

Ready to get started?

A CETA temporary work visa is a fantastic option for EU foreign nationals who have secured a service contract with a Canadian company. If you’re ready to learn more about your eligibility, explore your options, or even get the ball rolling on an application, a member of the Exeo team would be happy to chat with you.

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