Skip to main content

The aim of CETA, and more specifically its chapters 10 and 11, is to help both EU and Canadian companies and professionals understand how they can benefit from the labour mobility provisions, offering a number of alternatives to facilitate labour mobility, skills, transfers and supporting EU and Canada business for certain covered business people.


Canada is widely known for its low unemployment rates and the challenges it has around labour shortages. Therefore, an increasing number of work permits is constantly being issued; to give you an idea, over 640,000 work permits have been issued between January and October of 2022 alone.

In-demand sectors in Canada: a brief overview

In November 2022, there were over 850,000 job vacancies across Canada. 38.70% of the Canadian companies expected recruiting skilled people (engineers, technicians, accountants, IT-people, etc. …) to be an obstacle.

For that reason, immigration is a key, the key to Canada’s economic growth. In 2021, Canada had 415,817 work permit holders. Immigrants account for 23% of the Canadian population.


Immigration to Canada: basic rules

Entry to Canada for EU-citizens: basic rules

As an EU-citizen you can enter Canada without a visa. The only thing you need to do, is to apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization)

which can be done online. It will cost you 7 CAD and allow you to stay up to 6 months in Canada.

For other purposes, whether you want to work, study, operate a business or stay in Canada, you will have to apply for a specific permit.


Obtaining a work permit: basic rules

The basic rule to obtain a work permit is for the employer to prove that he has not been able to hire Canadians of permanent residents for a specific job and, as a result, has to resort to other (foreign) resources. The process is called Labour Market Impact Assessment

There are, however, exemptions and exceptions to this process which are provided under CETA’s chapter 10 and make it easier to obtain a work permit.


EU-Canada mobility of professionals under CETA

Main advantages CETA introduces


·        To ease the mobility of professionals between the EU and Canada

·        To facilitate temporary transfers of EU-executives in Canadian branches or subsidiaries (work permits up to 3 years)

·        To help addressing the demand for specific skills in in-demand sectors in Canada

·        To facilitate business development and prospection across Canada

(up to 90 days within a six month’s period)


List of specific LMIA-exemptions under CETA

The following EU-citizens having the hereunder specified roles can obtain a work permit without a LMIA:


Intra-corporate transferees (T44) and their spouses (T45)


■         Being currently employed or collaborating as partners of an EU company (a company established in an EU member state) and being employed or partners for, at least, one year when applying (before CETAa 1 year work permit with renewal application after 6 months / with the implementation of CETA3 year’s work permit, with a possible extension of up to 18 months at the officer’s discretion / advantage: brings more stability)

■         Being temporarily transferred in a Canadian parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate to provide services in the same capacity

(Spouses can be included in the application)

■         Being transferred as a senior executive, specialist or graduate trainee (key people)

(Interesting option for executives whose mission is to develop the company’s activities in Canada)

■         Being hired by the company in Europe for, at least, twelve months


Investors (T46)

■         Will establish, develop or administer the operation of an investment in a capacity that is supervisory or executive (key person); or (with the implementation of CETArenewable work permit of 3 years)

■         Being the investor; and

■         Being employed by an enterprise that has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital

■         Canadian company does not need to have a relation with your company in Europe and person did not necessarily have to work for the company previously


Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals (T43 and T47)


■         Being engaged in the temporary supply of a service for a period not exceeding 12 months and being contracted to provide a service

(Cumulative period of no more than 12 months in any 24-month period)

■         Holding a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level

■         Holding professional qualifications, if required, to practice an activity

pursuant to the laws or requirements in the province or territory where

the service is to be supplied in Canada

(Interesting option for executives whose mission is to develop the company’s activities in Canada)

■         Either an EU-company contracting with a Canadian company, or a professional skilled people (engineers, technicians, accountants, IT-people, etc. …) contracting directly with a Canadian company

Business Visitors

■         Work permit exemption

■         EU-Citizens who intend to engage in international business activities (marketing research, training, seminars, trade fairs ….) in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market (with the implementation of CETA: 90 days in any 6 month’s period)

■         Two categories of business visitors: short-term business visitors and

business visitors for investment purposes

(The EU-professional must remain exclusively employed and remunerated outside Canada)

■         Must conduct activities part of list of activities provided in annex 10-D of CETA


How to apply for a work permit under CETA ?

CETA has not changed the rule to apply for a work permit.

Options to apply for a work permit

·        Applying online through My Citizenship Immigration Canada (MyCIC)

This process allows the EU-applicant and the Canadian employer to prepare and submit the whole application package exclusively online. Fees can be paid online as well.

85% of all applications

·        Applying in-person at nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC)

VAC’s are private companies, which have formal contracts with the Government of Canada.

This means tends to be replaced by online applications.

 2.5% of all applications

·        Requesting a preliminary opinion with the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU)

The Canadian employer can request a preliminary opinion from the IMWU, to find out if the LMIA-exemption can apply to the position they wish to offer to the EU-applicant.

2.5% of all applications

·        Applying for the work permit upon arrival to Canada (at the airport)

10% of all applications


The first and fourth options are explained in more detail:


Applying online through MyCIC


■         Two levels: employer portal and applicant portal

           Can both be handled by a law firm

Once the application approved, the applicant will receive a letter of introduction


■         The employer should submit an electronic job offer online, through

his/her own employer portal and pay a 320 CAD fee

The candidate must provide all details regarding personal, family, career information,               diplomas, background, …

He/she will automatically be issued an eTA.


■         EU-applicant can, then, apply online through his/her own portal,

by uploading the required documents and paying a 155 CAD fee

(+ 85 CAD for the biometrics).

When entering Canada, the work permit will be issued by the immigration officer.


Applying online through MyCIC [Processing time]

           EMPLOYER                                              APPLICANT

           fills out the ELECTRONIC JOB OFFER  

                               fills out the  ONLINE WORK PERMIT APPLICATION

           submits the



           WHICH MUST BE RESPECTED                            UNDER 30 DAYS


           THE PERMIT                                                            BIOMETRICS

           Obtains a number which is given to the applicant

                                                          10 WEEKS PROCESSING TIME


You will receive, by e-mail or in the portal, a letter of introduction to be handed over to the immigration officer when you arrive in Canada

                                                         WORK PERMIT WILL BE ISSUED

Applying for a work permit upon arrival

■         This option is not recommended when applying under the T46 exemption

The applicant will have to apply for an eTA before flying to Canada

■         Main advantage: if approved, the work permit will be delivered on the same day

■         The applicant will have to bring a complete application package and

will pay the related fees upon arrival.

When entering Canada, the work permit will be issued by the immigration officer

■         If refused, the professional could either be sent back home, or

allowed temporary entry as a visitor with an obligation to leave

the country before a specific date

■         Uncertainty in the process

All the above regulations also work bilaterally, e.g. for Canadian companies or professionals wanting to do business, work, settle in Europe.


[Source: EUCCAN/IMMETIS, February 2023]