NAFTA Professionals And Moving To Canada

By James Metcalfe | August 8, 2016

James Metcalfe - Director of ImmigrationJim Metcalfe – Pace Immigration: The US presidential election is coming up in November and there have been a lot of stories in the press like this one:

Any South Carolinian aggrieved by the state of the U.S. presidential race can take comfort in the words of Jeff Cook: If their candidate loses, he’ll help them move to Canada.

Cook, a real estate agent in Charleston, unveiled a series of 15-metre-wide billboards across town this week, showing his smiling face beside photos of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Republican Party’s Donald Trump. The billboard also features Canadian and American flags, along with a tagline: “Moving to Canada? We can sell your home.”

The billboard might be a publicity stunt, but no matter. There are some Americans who want to move to Canada every year for a variety of reasons. The question is, how do they do it and which way is best/easiest?

Moving To Canada

There are a few ways for Americans to move to Canada. Some are more difficult than others. One option is to look for a job, get an offer, and wait while their employer gets a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Hopefully the assessment is successful, otherwise Canada is out. Another way is to marry a Canadian and get spousal sponsorship (though not for the primary purpose of immigrating to Canada). Yet another is to invest money in the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.

None of the above is exactly “easy” and all of them will require quite a lot of planning and paperwork. You cannot move to Canada simply by crossing the border and buying a house. Indeed, if an American crosses the border into Canada without a work permit or some other long-term authorization, then they will only be allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of six months.

NAFTA Professionals

There is, however, a fairly straightforward method for American professionals to enter Canada and remain virtually full-time: NAFTA. The North American Free Trade Agreement provides for a list of certain professionals who can move to Canada and begin working right away. The list includes doctors, lawyers, architects and interior designers, among others. You can check the list to see if your occupation is on it.

Note that before being able to ply your trade north of the border, you will have to show that you have the proper Canadian credentials to do your job.

In the right circumstances, if you have your own business in America, you may also be able to open up a subsidiary in Canada and be transferred to operate the business from here.

If you wish to use any of these methods to move to Canada, contact us and we’ll help make it happen.