• Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement to Improve Mobility
  • October 24, 2017
  • The situation

    A trade agreement between Canada and the European Union is expected to streamline mobility for several categories of employees, investors and business visitors.

    A closer look

    On September 21, 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union provisionally entered into force. Most of the provisions apply immediately and the remainder will enter into force once all EU Member States have completed ratification procedures. Some of the key provisions and their benefits are discussed below.

    Benefits for intracompany transferees

    CETA facilitates entry and stay for intracompany transfers of specialists, senior personnel and graduate trainees. Such transferees will no longer be subject to quotas, as were previously applicable in the European Union, or labor market tests.

    The CETA provisions are similar to current intracompany transferee provisions in Canada, with the addition of graduate trainees, and reflect the provisions of the EU intracompany transferees Directive 2014/66/EU (although the latter still enables Member States to determine volumes of admission).

    Benefits for business travelers

    CETA creates a short-term work permit exemption for business visitors, including those traveling for investment purposes, staying for up to 90 days in a six-month period. Business visitors must not engage in selling goods to the general public, may not receive remuneration from the host destination, and may not provide services to consumers.

    Benefits for self-employed professionals

    Once related agreements are concluded, CETA will allow self-employed EU professionals (with some exceptions) to apply for entry to Canada for pre-arranged employment without a labor market test, if they meet minimum education and experience criteria. Previously, self-employed professionals faced significant hurdles to employment in Canada.

    Canadian nationals entering the European Union under the CETA will also not be subject to labor market tests or quotas.

    No long-term work solution

    Notably, CETA does not address long term work-related migration, and it specifically excludes jobseekers and individuals aiming to apply for citizenship, residence or permanent employment.

    What this means for employers and foreign nationals

    Qualifying Canadian and EU nationals and their employers are advised to contact their immigration professionals to ensure maximum benefits under CETA.