Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the following three countries - United States, Canada and Mexico - established the temporary entry requirements for business persons. Permanent residents of the three countries are not covered. They are, however, covered by the general provisions governing the temporary entry of foreign workers.
Under the NAFTA, there are four categories of business persons:
Professionals are business persons who temporary enter Canada to provide professional services to a Canadian company. There are more than 60 occupations covered by the Agreement. Examples of occupations include accountant, architect, computer systems analyst, engineer, medical professional, and management consultant. Professionals require a pre-arranged employment with a Canadian enterprise in an occupation in their field of qualification and minimum education requirements. Professionals are not subject to an LMIA but require a work permit.
This category is for U.S. and Mexican businesses or business persons who own or have a controlling interest in a company already established or to be established in Canada.
An applicant can be granted trader or investor status, but not both. Traders must currently trade a substantial amount in goods or services between the U.S. or Mexico and Canada. Investors must have committed, or are in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital in Canada. Traders and investors must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or one that involves essential skills.
Trade means the exchange, purchase, or sale of goods and/or services. Goods are tangible commodities or merchandise excluding money, securities, and negotiable instruments. Services are economic activities whose outputs are other than tangible goods. Such activities include, but are not limited to international banking, insurance, transportation, communications and data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting and tourism.
Investment involves placing funds at risk in the commercial sense in the hope of generating a profit or a return on the funds risked. The applicant must demonstrate possession and control of the funds or other capital assets.
The goal of investor status is to promote productive investment in Canada. Therefore, an applicant is not entitled to this status if the investment, even if substantial, will return only enough income to provide a living for the applicant and family.
Traders and investors are not subject to the LMIA process but require a work permit for which they must apply before departing for Canada.