Last week, we attended the first annual Free-Trade Immigration Conference in Mexico City. The purpose of it was to discuss immigration options for Americans, Canadians and Mexicans in each other’s countries, based on the US-Canada-Mexico Free-Trade Ageement.
Free-trade agreements often facilitate the movement of people for work purposes. Here we will cover some the free-trade agreements in US and Canada that may provide options for people of Hispanic heritage.
For example the TN visa (USA) or CUSMA Professional (Canada) are sought after options negotiated in USMCA/ CUSMA Free Trade Agreement. You can find more details on the TN visa in our TN Visa Guide.
Benefits of free-trade work permits
Work permits based on free-trade agreements are popular because they do not require employers to conduct a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or Labour Certification (LC) application to hire. It allows the country to benefit from highly educated professionals and fosters innovation.
Another huge benefit is that there are no quotas, like there are for the H1B visas. To give you an idea of demand, last year, over 700,000 applied for the H1B lottery to fill approximately 85,000 spots. Free-trade agreement work permits can help to provide a solution for the over 600,000 jobs and applicants that were not selected in the H1B lottery.
Below we cover the free trade agreements negotiated with other hispanic countries. However, not all free trade agreements have the same expansive options as USMCA/ CUSMA...
Here is a little known tip, if your country does not have extensive service trade provisions…
At the conference, we learned from our Mexican colleagues that Mexico has a provision that facilitates citizenship for those of Hispanic heritage. If you become a Mexican permanent resident, you are able to apply for citizenship after 2 years, instead of 5 years, if you have Hispanic heritage. Once you are a Mexican citizen, you have greater access to Canada and US work opportunities. Work opportunities also create pathways to permanent residency.
Coming up soon, we will go into more details about the other work permits available to other Hispanic countries based on the respective free trade agreements. For now, you will find the list of free-trade agreements that may offer opportunities based on residency or citizenship to the respective countries.
Below is the list of free-trade agreements that may provide work opportunities to Canada for people of Hispanic origin:
- Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)
- Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - includes work permit options for people of Mexico, Peru, and Chile.
- Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
- Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement
Below is the list of free-trade agreements that may provide work opportunities to USA for people of Hispanic origin:
- United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
- Chile Free Trade Agreement
- Colombia Free Trade Agreement
- Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) - includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
- US-Panama Trade Agreement
- Peru Trade Promotion Trade Agreement
How can an immigration lawyer help with a work permit application?
If you would like to evaluate your work permit options based on free-trade agreements, please schedule a strategy session here. We can help you evaluate your options, narrow available work opportunities, and also work with your employer to draft a work permit application.