Professionals

Two categories of skilled professionals are permitted entry to Canada under CETA: “contractual services suppliers” and “independent professionals”. What distinguishes the two types of professionals is that contractual services suppliers are employees of an organization in an EU member state, while independent professionals are self-employed.

Unlike the professional work permits available under NAFTA, CETA’s professional categories permit entry for a temporary period exclusively to individuals who will be engaged in the supply of a service in Canada pursuant to a contract. CETA does not permit professionals to engage in full-time regular work as an employee of a Canadian enterprise.

  • Place of application: CETA professionals may apply at the port of entry if they are exempt from the TRV requirement, from within Canada if they satisfy the conditions in section 199 of IRPR, or at a Canadian visa office abroad.
  • Permissible length of stay: Initial work permits can be issued for a maximum of 12 months during any 24-month period, even if the service contract is for a longer duration. Extensions are possible, but at the discretion of the officer adjudicating the application.
  • LMIA exemption: Both types of professionals require work permits to authorize their activities in Canada, and are exempt from the LMIA requirement under subsection 204(a) of IRPR and LMIA exemption codes T47 (contractual service suppliers) and T43 (independent professionals).

General Criteria

Both contractual services suppliers and independent professionals must:

  1. be coming to Canada to engage in the temporary supply of a service to a Canadian customer for a period not exceeding 12 months. If the work to be performed in Canada exceeds 12 months, CETA will apply only for the first 12 months, at least initially;
  2. be contracted to provide a service described in Annex 10-E. Only occupations classified as skill level 0 and A on Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system are included, except for eligible engineering and scientific technologist positions which are NOC B occupations;
  3. hold a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent levelFootnote1; and
  4. possess professional qualifications, if required, to practice the proposed activity in the province or territory where the service will be supplied.

Annex 10-C confirms that some engineering and scientific technologists are eligible to work in Canada as CETA professionals without a university degree. Annex 10-C notes the following equivalencies:

  • Engineering technologists: completion of a three-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognized institution in engineering technology is considered equivalent to a university degree; and
    Scientific technologists: completion of a three-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognized institution in the disciplines of agriculture, architecture, biology, chemistry, physics, forestry, geology, geophysics, mining or energy is considered equivalent to a university degree.

Documentary Requirements

When applying for a work permit, contractual services suppliers and independent professionals must present:

  • proof of citizenship in an EU member state;
  • a signed contract between the EU service provider and the Canadian customer;
  • documentation which explains the following:
    • the profession for which entry to Canada is sought;
    • the province or territory where the service work will be performed;
    • details of the assignment including a description of duties, duration of work in Canada and payment arrangements;
    • the educational qualifications or other credentials required for the work to be performed in Canada;
  • evidence the applicant has the necessary qualifications required to practice the activity under provincial or territorial requirements; and
  • proof an offer of employment has been submitted through IRCC’s Employer Portal and the $230 employer compliance fee has been paid.

Contractual Services Suppliers

Specific Criteria

A “contractual services supplier” is an individual employed by an enterprise based in an EU member state – with no establishment in Canada – that has a contract to supply service to a Canadian consumer. In addition to the general criteria that apply to all CETA professionals, a contractual services supplier must also:

  • have been an employee of the EU-based enterprise supplying the service in Canada for at least one year immediately before applying for a work permit;
  • hold at least three years of professional experience in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract for service; and
  • be compensated for the services performed in Canada only from the enterprise that employs them outside of Canada which has been contracted to provide service in Canada. Contractual services suppliers cannot be remunerated directly by a Canadian source.

Recognized Sectors

Canada’s sectoral commitments for contractual services suppliers in Annex 10-E of CETA are based on the United Nations Provisional Central Product Classification (CPC prov) economic sectors. IRCC has prepared a NOC equivalents comparative table of Canada’s commitments in Annex 10-E for contractual service suppliers. See Appendix C for further details.

Independent Professionals

Specific Criteria

An “independent professional” is a self-employed professional with a contract to supply a service to a Canadian customer. In addition to the general criteria that apply to all CETA professionals, an independent professional must also have a minimum of six years of professional experienceFootnote2 in the sector of activity that is the subject of the contract.

Recognized Sectors

Canada’s sectoral commitments for independent professionals are in Annex 10-E (based on the CPC prov. economic sectors). IRCC has prepared a NOC equivalents comparative table of Canada’s commitments in Annex 10-E for independent professionals. See Appendix D for further details. Footnote3

If the degree or qualification was not obtained in Canada, the officer assessing the work permit application may evaluate whether it is equivalent to a university degree obtained in Canada. Annex 10-C which addresses equivalence for engineering technologists and scientific technologists is to be applied where appropriate.

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