With US President Donald Trump hinting that he may withdraw his country from the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), many are starting to consider what the effects that such a withdrawal would have on goods and services crossing North American borders.
What has not been widely reported is the expected effect on business immigration (e.g., US and/or Mexican nationals seeking temporary entry into Canada for business or investment purposes).
Chapter 16 of NAFTA currently allows citizens of the US and Mexico (i.e. who are not Canadian residents) to enter Canada as a “business visitor” for temporary business or investment purposes, and stay in Canada for up to six months – all without a “work permit”. To qualify under these business visitor provisions, a traveller must be entering Canada for the purposes of engaging in qualifying activities (which include conferences, trade-shows, conventions, and business meetings for taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services for certain enterprises). (For a complete list of permissible activities, click here).
So what happens if NAFTA disappears overnight?
Some other options would still be available for business travellers needing to enter Canada temporarily.