Canada’s reestablished trade deal with the Mexico and United States will leave the rules for professional work visas same as they were under the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as NAFTA.
The new trade agreement, called the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) was announced on the evening of September 30 — just a day before the October 1 deadline set by the U.S. government.
Under the USMCA, Chapter 16, that deals with temporary entry for business professionals as well as enables employers in Canada, the United States and Mexico to approach professional labour from all three countries, will remain totally unchanged from the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) text.
As far as Canada’s case is concerned, Chapter 16 allows businesses hire skilled American and Mexican workers in around 60 different professional categories on temporary work permits that are generally valid for up to three years. However, these permits can also be renewed an unlimited number of times.
Those employers, who are hiring professionals through Chapter 16, are allowed to skip a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is usually needed to prove no Canadian can fill the position. Furthermore, the same rules apply to Canadians hired by employers based in the United States and Mexico under Chapter 16.
The agreement brings an end on concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to curtail the number of professions comes under Chapter 16 and limit the renewals. The chapter was considered to dissension to U.S. President’s “Buy American, Hire American” Moto and a plethora of conservative voices that were seeking its diminution.
In the mean time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canadian negotiators, and many other associations demanded that the list of professions included in Chapter 16 need to be expanded as they ponder that many digital occupations should be covered under the chapter that didn’t exist when NAFTA was introduced in the year 1994.
However, at last, both sides decided on keeping Chapter 16 unchanged.
In a joint statement issued on the evening of September 30, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Minister and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, said the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) was a win for workers in both U.S and Canada.
Both officials jointly state that USMCA will offer our workers, ranchers, farmers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will lead to freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our countries. Further, they added that it will surely strengthen the middle class and give rise to good, remunerative jobs and new opportunities to around half billion people who call North America their home.