16 December 2008

Canada announces 3-year renewable work permits for North American workers

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced changes to the work permit scheme for North American Free Trade Agreement professionals.

NAFTA professionals who wish to work in Canada temporarily can do so as holders of a new three-year work permit.  This new Canadian work permit replaces a renewable 12-month permit for NAFTA workers.

Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism said the new permits would work well to help plug the gap in the skilled labour force and provide more employment prospects for North American workers.

"NAFTA work permits are an excellent option for North American professionals seeking to work in Canada including lawyers, doctors, dentists and teachers.  In addition, this will also help Canadian employers remain competitive by ensuring they have access to necessary skilled labour," Kenney said.

"We are trying to get all the skilled people we can to Canada quickly," he said in a telephone interview with the Star Phoenix.  "The last thing we want is to strangle a Canadian company that’s ready to grow because of a shortage of labour." 

The changes mean greater benefits to employers, as they will have access to skilled labour for three-times longer than under the previous NAFTA work permit system.  This means foreign labour would have a greater chance of completing projects and contributing more to the community, while employers benefit from lowered costs and less paperwork. 

The changes also match the new rules from America on issuance of Trade NAFTA (TN) work visas to Canadian and Mexican professionals under NAFTA.

Around 5,150 Canadian work permits for NAFTA nationals are granted every year, and around 5,000 of these come from America.

According to the Star Phoenix, government officials and experts claim that all net labour market growth would be attributable to immigration between 2011 and 2015.

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for Canada visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, Canadian Visa Bureau.


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