Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
Beginning this October, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has now been implemented in Canada. The intent of CETA is to create jobs, enhance trade between Canada and the European Union (EU) market, and strengthen economic relations between the two regions. In Canada, implementation of CETA will affect immigration for foreign workers and business visitors from EU member countries, as detailed below.
New Work Permit for Contractual Service Providers and Independent Professionals
Under the CETA a new work permit category will be created for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals. Eligibility will be governed by certain provisions relating to industries such as engineering, computers, manufacturing, and legal services. Work permits in this category will be valid for a maximum of 12 months and the position must fall within Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) levels 0 (management job) to A (professional job that usually requires a university degree).
New Intra Company Transferee Work Permit for Trainees
While the CETA will not affect the existing Intra Company Transfer (ICT) work permit categories relating to specialized knowledge and senior management, a new ICT category will be created for Graduate Trainees. The following eligibility requirements will apply to the new category:
- The foreign national must possess a university degree.
The purpose of the transfer must be for career development or to obtain training in business techniques.
- Work permits in this category will be valid for up to 12 months, and may not be extended.
New Work Permit for EU Investors
A new work permit category will be implemented for EU investors according to the following eligibility requirements:
- Purpose of entry into Canada must be to establish or develop Canadian operations.
- The applicant must be in a supervisory or executive position in the investing organization.
- The investment must be “substantial”.
Work permits in this category will be valid for up to 12 months, and may be extended.
Business Visitor Categories
The CETA also establishes two distinct categories of business visitors: short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes. The permitted activities for these categories are similar to the business visitor activities as defined by Canadian immigration regulations outside of the CETA.
Short-term business visitors are permitted to enter Canada for up to 90 days in any six-month period, usually to visit for a specific project. Investment business visitors are EU nationals in a managerial or specialist role who will visit to establish a Canadian enterprise. The investment visitors may not engage in direct transactions with the general public or be remunerated in Canada.
EU nationals who need to travel to Canada for work or business activities may benefit from these new CETA immigration provisions. However, eligibility should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Older Children May Now Be Included as Dependents
Beginning October 24, 2017, unmarried children under 22 years of age may be included as dependents on Canadian immigration applications filed by or on behalf of their parents as the principal applicants. The prior regulations required dependents to be younger than the age of 19. This change only applies to applications submitted on or after October 24, 2017.
Amendments to Canada’s Citizenship Act
As of October 11, 2017 Canadian permanent residents are able to take advantage of a streamlined naturalization process as the Canadian government has enacted new rules in an effort to provide permanent residents with an easier path to citizenship. Canadian citizenship is one of the most sought after in the world and permits a foreign national to apply for a Canadian passport.
One of the changes includes the number of days that an applicant must spend as a permanent resident before applying for citizenship. Previously, applicants had to accumulate 1,460 days (4 years) of permanent residence within a six-year period. Now, applicants must acquire 1,095 (three years) of residence over a five-year period. In addition, applicants who previously spent time in Canada on a work or study status prior to permanent residency may count up to 365 days of this status towards their overall residency. Time spent in temporary status is calculated in half-days. That is, for every two days spent in Canada on a temporary status, the applicant may count one day towards citizenship eligibility. The inclusion of time spent in a temporary status may reduce the citizenship requirement from three years to two years.
In addition, the new regulations will remove the requirement that citizenship applicants must be physically present in Canada for 183 days or more in four out of the six years before the application. This provision allows permanent residents to apply for citizenship sooner, in addition to making the application process more streamlined.
Foster LLP will continue to monitor all changes to Canadian immigration processes and requirements. Future updates will be made available via our website at www.fosterglobal.com or Immigration Updates©.