A facilitated and expedited work permit option is available through NAFTA to those citizens of the US and Mexico in certain occupations.
Usually, in order for a foreign national to acquire a Canadian work permit, the Canadian employer must first be approved for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This is an application that essentially serves to demonstrate that the employer could not find a Canadian for the job, thus necessitating the hiring of a foreign national. The work permit application is also subject to certain processing times, the length of which varies according to the applicant’s country of nationality or legal residence.
This is not the case for those foreign nationals who can benefit from a NAFTA professional work permit, for which the list of eligible occupations can be found here. For these individuals, the Canadian employer extending the offer of employment is exempt from the LMIA requirement, thus rendering them more attractive to Canadian employers and increasing the likelihood of work permit approval. As well, because they are Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)-exempt, U.S. and Mexican citizens can apply for a work permit directly at the border. This is called a “port of entry” application, and it avoids the often lengthy processing times usually associated with a work permit application.
Foreign nationals trained in IT/Tech are well positioned to take advantage of NAFTA as two of the occupations on the NAFTA professional list fall squarely in the field of IT/Tech. The two occupations are Computer Systems Analyst and Graphic Designer.
For those foreign nationals who can receive consideration under either of these categories, applying for a Canadian work permit is greatly facilitated and the process is greatly expedited. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology, more and more areas of Canadian industry are intertwined with the IT/Tech field, thus making workers in these categories valuable commodities. As a result of this, these workers will be more actively sought by Canadian employers to occupy various positions within their organizations.
Because of the heavy demand, it is only logical that Canadian employers will often have to look beyond the pool of available Canadian IT/Tech workers to those foreign nationals who are trained in the field. The two NAFTA professional occupations related to IT/Tech allow Mexican and American workers who are qualified in these domains to take advantage of this fact by increasing the likelihood and the speed with which Canadian work authorization can be procured.