Canada: Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Signed

On March 8, 2018, Canada signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), along with 11 other countries. Once member countries ratify the agreement, the CPTPP will be one of the largest free trade agreements in the world and will offer qualifying business visitors, investors and skilled workers reciprocal access to each other's economic and labor markets.

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Mar 12, 2018
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The situation

Canada has signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), along with the below countries:

  • Australia;
  • Brunei;
  • Canada;
  • Chile;
  • Japan;
  • Malaysia;
  • Mexico;
  • New Zealand;
  • Peru;
  • Singapore; and
  • Vietnam.

 

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada is expected to release the Program Delivery Guidelines shortly, which will confirm the way in which the mobility provisions will be implemented as well as other details about the impact of the agreement once it is ratified in Canada and other member countries.

A closer look

The CPTPP contemplates increased mobility for nationals of member countries into Canada in multiple categories including Business Visitors, Intra-Company Transferees and Investors, and adds a new Professionals/Technicians category. Highlights of these categories are discussed below.

  • Business Visitors. The Business Visitor category, which would exist in addition to other business visitor immigration routes in Canada,  includes those seeking to engage in any of the following business activities in Canada for up to six months:
    • Meetings and consultations;
    • Research and design;
    • Manufacture and production;
    • Marketing;
    • Sales;
    • Distribution;
    • After-sales or after-lease service; and
    • General services.
      • Impact. The existing business visitor category allows for a broad interpretation of allowable activities, while the CPTPP offers a specific list of allowable activities; this may lead to increased predictability in adjudicating business visitor applications.

 

  • Intra-Company Transferees. Intracompany transferees under the CPTPP must have one year of continuous employment in the related business abroad immediately preceding the application submission date. The CPTPP allows qualifying nationals to stay in Canada for up to three years, with the possibility of extensions. The subcategories available under the ICT category are:
    • Specialists. This category, which is similar to existing specialist work permit categories in Canada, would be for nationals from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru. Specialists are defined as having specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures.
    • Management Trainees for Professional Development. This would be a new category for employees with a post-secondary degree who are on a temporary work assignment to broaden their experience in preparation for a senior leadership position within the company. The specific countries eligible for entry to Canada under this category are expected to be set out in the Program Delivery Guidelines.
      • Impact. This category would allow more junior employees to obtain relevant work experience in Canada, where previously they may not have qualified for entry based on their experience level.
    • Executives and Managers.  This category, which is similar to existing executive/manager immigration routes in Canada, would be for those seeking to perform an executive or managerial function, including management of the organization or a subdivision of the organization.

 

  • Investors. This category would be for business persons, including investors, independent executives and persons setting up a commercial presence who serve in a capacity that is supervisory, executive or involves essential skills.  Admitted foreign nationals would be eligible to stay for up to one year under this category. Extensions would be possible and a spouse could be included.
    • Impact. Implementation details and clarification on whether foreign nationals would be issued work permits  under this category are expected to be set out in the Program Delivery Guidelines.
  • New category: Professionals/Technicians. The CPTPP creates a new category for professional/technicians, defined as a business person engaged in a country-specific specialty occupation with a theoretical and practical body of specialized knowledge who meets specific education and work experience requirements. It would offer a one-year stay with the possibility of extensions.
    • Impact. Qualifying professionals would benefit from this category as they would otherwise be subject to a labor market test prior to entry to Canada. However, such professionals would be subject to a prevailing wage requirement, which is not required under other free trade agreements in Canada.

Background

The CPTPP is a revised version of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and includes the same member countries as the TPP with the exception of the United States, which withdrew from TPP negotiations in January 2017. The CPTPP includes countries that, together, represent 13% of the global economy.

Looking ahead

Upon ratification of the agreement by Canada and other CPTPP member countries, nearly 500 million people will have increased economic and labor market access.

Fragomen will report updates in the implementation process and other agreement details as more information is comfirmed.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to canada@fragomen.com.

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