Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) are set to ratify a new agreement, the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement (Canada-UK TCA), which will allow certain UK nationals to work in Canada post-Brexit.As of January 1, 2021, citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) looking to work in Canada will no longer be processed under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA removes 98 percent of tariffs between Canada and the EU and allows certain service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors to work in Canada without those positions first needing to be offered to Canadian citizens. Because CETA is reciprocal, Canadians enjoy similar access to European labour markets as well.With the ink not yet dry on the UK-EU post-Brexit trade deal, which was agreed on Christmas Eve and was still working its way through national parliaments days later, Canada and the UK have outlined their joint intention to continue mutual access to both countries’ labour markets under certain conditions.The instructions for processing UK nationals under the Canada-UK TCA will be effective following ratification of the agreement, which is expected to occur in early 2021. The instructions will provide guidance on the labour mobility provisions of the trade agreement between Canada and the UK.If the Canada-UK TCA is similar to CETA, certain service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors would be able to work in Canada without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, at this point there remains the possibility that the Canada-UK TCA may be somewhat different to CETA.The Government of Canada has also confirmed that there will be a gap of many days, weeks, or potentially months between the ending of UK citizens’ access to Canada via CETA and ratification of the new Canada-UK TCA. During this gap period from January 1 to ratification, UK nationals will have to have an approved LMIA or meet the requirements of an LMIA-exempt work permit category.LMIA-exempt work permit categories include the youth mobility program known as International Experience Canada (IEC), which allows thousands of UK citizens aged 18-30 to work in Canada for up to two years. However, this program is currently closed to new applicants, and its age restrictions mean it was never a realistic option for many of the independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors who would otherwise have benefited from the provisions of CETA.Other LMIA-exempt categories include the Intra-Company Transfer program, significant benefit, and reciprocal employment.Work permit categories are distinct from Canada’s immigration programs for permanent residence, which remain open to applications from UK citizens. Work permits allow people to work in Canada for a temporary period only, whereas permanent residence allows people to live and work in Canada permanently, as the name suggests. The Express Entry system for permanent residence is popular among British candidates, many of whom score highly for their language ability and levels of education, among other factors.Moreover, Canada has banned travel into the country from the United Kingdom until at least January 6, 2021 due to a new Covid-19 variant first discovered in the UK.Source: Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement (December 29, 2020)
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