CETA Work Permits
  • February 6, 2023
  • lifeintheabroad@gmail.com
  • 3

CETA Work Permits are ideal for experienced professionals who plan to work in Canada. These work permits are available for skilled workers from the EU and offer a wide range of opportunities and benefits. They can be used by anyone looking to do business in Canada, including those who wish to relocate and those who want to travel here temporarily.

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), negotiated between Canada and the European Union, is a multilateral trade agreement. The agreement came into effect on September 21st, 2017. CETA provides unique opportunities for EU citizens to work in Canada. Under the treaty, those foreign nationals covered by CETA provisions may be eligible to work in Canada without the requirement of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or even a visa—allowing them immediate entry into our country and improving their ability to access Canadian jobs.

What Is CETA?

Canada’s free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), or Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is one of the country’s major international trade deals. It makes it easier for Canadian businesses to sell their products in Europe while also making it more straightforward for EU citizens eager to work here—both groups will enjoy increased mobility across borders:

  • Business visitors
  • Investors
  • Independent Professionals and Contractual Service Suppliers
  • Intra-Corporate Transferees

To hire a European national for work in Canada, you should apply the categories of Independent Professionals/Contractual Service Suppliers and Intra-Corporate Transferees.

Under these categories, eligible applicants are exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Applying for an LMIA can be difficult and time-consuming, so this exemption relieves Canadian employers.

What Are the European Union Member Countries?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

CETA Work Permits

Independent Professionals and Contractual Service Suppliers

Independent Professionals

Independent Professionals are individuals with skills and experience essential to business operations in Canada. They must have at least one year of experience in their field and be able to provide evidence of this.

Independent professionals can apply for a work permit if they have been offered a position by an employer who can demonstrate that:

  • Be a citizen of the European Union member country.
  • Participate in a temporary service supply for a period not exceeding 12 months (If exceeding 12 months, the CETA provisions will apply only for the initial 12 months.).
  • Have been contracted to supply service as per the Annex 10-E Concordance Table.
  • Have a university degree or a qualification at an equivalent level.
  • Must possess professional qualifications per laws or requirements of the destination province or territory if required to practice an activity related to service delivery.
  • Be engaged in the delivery of a service as a self-employed person.
  • Have at least six years of professional expertise in professional activity.

Contractual Service Suppliers

  • You must be a service supplier in the EU.
  • You must have a contract with an employer in Canada.
  • You must have a work permit for at least one year.
  • Have a university degree or a qualification at an equivalent level.
  • Must possess professional qualifications per laws or requirements of the destination province or territory if required to practice an activity related to service delivery.
  • Must be an employee of the company which was granted a service contract.
  • Be an EU-headquartered company employee for at least one year before application.
  • Have at least three years of professional experience in the activity subject of the service contract at the time of application.
  • I am not receiving Canadian remuneration for services other than those paid by the employing EU company.

Who Cannot Apply for a CETA Work Permit?

You can only apply for a CETA work permit if you are a citizen of one of the EU member states and have been offered a job by a Canadian employer. You must also have at least 12 months of paid or voluntary work experience and sufficient language skills. If you meet these requirements, we recommend contacting us immediately so that we can begin processing your application!

  • medical and dental services
  • veterinary services
  • midwifery services
  • services provided by nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel
  • higher education services

Intra-Corporate Transferees

An intra-corporate transferee (ICT) is a person who has been employed by an affiliate of your company abroad and will be transferred to work in Canada. These individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • They have worked for an affiliated foreign company for at least one year in the last three years immediately before their application or during the same period that they are required to be employed by you;
  • You intend to make them available to work full-time in Canada for you; and
  • Your business entity has been operating in Canada for at least one year before its arrival.

Intra-company transferees

Under CETA, intra-company transferees of enterprises in EU nations may be eligible to obtain a work permit without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). To qualify for this LMIA exemption, the intra-company transferees must meet all of the following criteria:

  • An individual must have worked for or been a partner in an enterprise in the state for at least one year.
  • Must be transferred temporarily to a Canadian enterprise that is either the subsidiary, parent, branch or head company of an EU-based one.

In addition to the standard requirements, intra-company transferees fall into three categories based on their length of stay and purpose: Senior Personnel, Specialists, & Graduate Trainees. 

Senior Personnel

The definition of senior personnel is equivalent to the North American Free Trade Agreement’s understanding of an individual in an ‘executive capacity.’ The criteria are as follows:

  • Has authority over the operation of an organization, department, subdivision or function;
  • A supervisory employee generally oversees the work of other employees and is accountable for their performance. A manager may supervise groups of workers or manage a department within an organization while also serving one level higher than their team in reporting structure
  • has the authority to hire and fire or recommend those, as well as other personnel actions (such as promotion and leave authorization); is not directly supervised by anyone else; functions at an elevated level within the organization hierarchy concerning the role managed;
  • Exercises complete control over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which they are responsible


Specialists are individuals with “specialized knowledge,” as understood by the NAFTA agreement. To have specialized knowledge, an intra-corporate transferee applicant would be required to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise—meaning that they could apply their skill in a way not otherwise available within the company’s existing workforce.

Graduate trainees

The subcategory of graduate trainees includes the following criteria. The applicant must:

  • Have a university degree
  • Be temporarily transferred to a company in Canada for professional development or to obtain training in business techniques or methods

Length of Work Permit

Senior personnel and specialist may be issued a work permit of up to less than three years, depending on the length of the contract. Graduate trainees are eligible for a work permit of less than one year, depending on the contract size.

CETA Work Permits are available for skilled workers from the EU

If you’re looking to apply for a CETA work permit, there are some things you should know. The first thing is that only EU citizens can use it, and they must be self-sufficient in Canada–meaning they have enough money to support themselves while they’re here.

The second thing is that CETA permits are only available for family members of EU citizens who want to live and work in Canada temporarily. You’ll need proof of your relationship with the person sponsoring your application (e.g., marriage certificate) and evidence of your citizenship status with an official document from your home country’s government or consulate office (passport).

CETA work permits are ideal for experienced professionals who plan to work in Canada.

CETA work permits are ideal for experienced professionals who plan to work in Canada. They are not available for low-skilled workers, students or refugees.

If you are an experienced professional, then a CETA work permit may suit you. If an employer has offered you a job in Canada and they have confirmed that they will sponsor your application (if required), then this option is worth considering as it has many benefits over other options, such as applying under the NAFTA regime or obtaining an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment).


CETA Work Permits Canada

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