CUSMA Investors

Last updated: 28 August 2020

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) a CUSMA Investor may obtain a work permit without first obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Note:: Canada, the United States and Mexico signed a revamped North American free trade agreement on November 30, 2018. Under the new agreement, known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), eligible U.S. and Mexican nationals will retain access to facilitated Canadian work permits under the same terms as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Please monitor this page for updates.

NAFTA Investors

In order to benefit from this exemption, the following requirements must be met:

  • The CUSMA Investor must have either US or Mexican citizenship;
  • The company must have US or Mexican citizenship (a majority of the company must be owned by persons of American or Mexican citizenship);
  • Substantial investment must have already have been made, or must actively be made;
  • The CUSMA Investor must be seeking entry into Canada for the sole reason of developing and directing the business; and
  • If the CUSMA Investor is also an employee of the company, his or her role must be executive or supervisory or involve essential skills.

CUSMA Substantial Investment Requirement:

An “investment” should be considered as the placement of funds or other assets at risk, in the goal of generating a profit or return. Without the presence of such a risk, one would not be considered to have made an investment under this title. This would, therefore, prevent non-profit organizations from being considered as an eligible company for the CUSMA Investor work permit. Additionally, the CUSMA Investor must demonstrate prior or present possession and control of the investment. The type of investment (such as the investment of funds, the purchase of equipment, etc.) will also be taken into account when assessing whether an investment has actually been made.

In order for the investment to be considered “substantial”, it must be weighed against the total value of the business in question, or the amount normally required in establishing a venture of that nature. A determination must be made as to whether the investment is considered proportional to the total investment.

CUSMA Controlling Stake Requirement:

In order to be “developing and directing” the business, the CUSMA Investor must also demonstrate that they have a controlling stake in the company.

As an employee of the company, a CUSMA Investor must demonstrate that their primary tasks are to direct, control, and guide employees. Several factors are taken into consideration when determining whether an Investor falls under this label, such as their title, their place within the company’s hierarchy, their job duties, etc. Generally, CUSMA Investors do not usually partake in the company’s hands-on activities.

A CUSMA Investor who is employed in a capacity that involves essential skills must demonstrate that their specific expertise is vital to the American or Mexican company operating within the requirements set out above.

Working or Hiring through CUSMA

Please complete this short form to submit your work permit query directly to our specialists. We will respond with an evaluation of your needs.