Last updated on January 14th, 2019

Last Updated on January 14, 2019 by Steven Meurrens

On December 30, 2018 the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (the “CPTPP“) came into effect.  The CPTPP will result in it being easier for citizens of countries that have ratified the CPTPP to work in Canada.  As of writing, these countries include Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The benefits are not the same, however, for all countries.

The categories are:

  • Business Visitors;
  • After – Sales Services;
  • Investors;
  • Intra-Corporate Transferees; and
  • Professionals.

Business Visitors

The Business Visitors category applies to all countries that have ratified the CPTPP.  As well, permanent residents of Australia and permanent residents of New Zealand may also qualify under this category.

Activities that Business Visitors may perform include:

After-Sales Service

The CPTPP’s After-Sales Service provisions apply to citizens of Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

Personnel who possess specialized knowledge essential to a seller’s or lessor’s contractual obligation (such as installers, repairers and maintenance personnel, and supervisors) may enter Canada for the purpose of performing services and training workers to perform services pursuant to a warranty (during the life of the warranty) or other service contract incidentals (during the life of the service agreement)

These activities come from the sale or lease of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery (including computer software) that has been purchased or leased from an enterprise located in a party other than Canada.


The investor provisions of the CPTPP apply to applicants who are citizens of Australia, Japan, Mexico or Vietnam.

People who are entering Canada to establish, develop or administer an investment to which the business person or their enterprise has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital and are in a supervisory or executive role or a role that involves essential skills can enter Canada to receive a one year work permit.

While the assessment of the above factors is similar to that under the North America Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA“), unlike with NAFTA, Investor applicants under CETA can apply from within Canada and at a port of entry.

Intra-Corporate Transferees

The intra-corporate transferees (“ICT“) category allows persons who are employed by an enterprise in the territory of a party and who are seeking to render services to the parent, a subsidiary or an affiliate of that enterprise to work in an executive, manager, specialist or management trainee on professional development role.

The CPTPP’s ICT provisions apply to citizens of Australia, Mexico and New Zealand, as well as permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand.

In addition, ICTs must:

  • have been employed by an enterprise of or have been partners in an enterprise of a CPTPP signatory continuously for at least 1 year within the previous 3 years at the time of submitting the application. This includes citizens of CPTPP countries who are employed by an enterprise in another CPTPP country; and
  • be transferred to a parent entity, subsidiary or affiliate company of the enterprise in Canada.

An executive is a business person within an organization who does all of the following:

  • primarily directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization;
  • establishes the goals and policies of the organization or of a component or function of the organization; and
  • exercises wide latitude in decision-making and receives only general supervision or direction from high-level executives, the board of directors or stockholders of the business organisation.

A manager is a business person within an organization who does all of the following:

  • primarily directs the organization or a department or sub-division of the organization;
  • supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees;
  • has the authority to hire and fire or take other personnel actions (such as promotion or leave authorization); and
  • exercises discretionary authority over day-to-day operations.

A specialist is an employee possessing specialized knowledge of the company’s product or services and their application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures.

For all categories the length of stay is up to 3 years for initial applications, with possible extensions at the officer’s discretion if the applicant is able to provide documentation that satisfies the processing officer of the applicant’s need to have their stay extended.

Professionals and Technicians

The CPTPP includes a list of specific occupations permitted under the professionals and technicians category on a country-by-country basis.  As of writing, the Professionals program applies to Mexico, Australia and Japan.

Some of the key differences are:

  • CPTPP professionals and technicians need to be paid prevailing wage;
  • where the occupation is regulated by the province or territory of the applicant’s intended destination, evidence of licensing or certification in their occupation from the applicable Canadian or foreign regulatory body is required;
  • where the occupation is not regulated by the province or territory of the applicant’s intended destination, or where licensing or certification is not required to fulfill the offer of employment, evidence of study in a field of study related to the specialty occupation (theoretical) and evidence of paid work experience in the specialty occupation (practical);
  • applicants must have the ability to communicate in one of the official languages for the purposes of the job they intend to perform; and
  • work permits are only for one year, not three, although they can be extended.

Professionals require both of the following:

  • a post-secondary degree of 4 or more years of study, unless otherwise specified in the country-specific occupation list, and any additional requirements defined in the National Occupational Classification (“NOC“); and
  • paid work experience for a length of 2 years in the sector of activity of the contract.

Canadian educational requirements for Australian professionals should be deemed to be met whenever an Australian professional has met the Australian equivalent educational qualification.  This is generally a 3-year bachelor’s degree. Australian professionals also require a letter provided by the Canadian client or employer, indicating that the Australian professional’s qualifications are acceptable in Canada.

Technicians require both of the following:

  • a post-secondary or technical degree requiring 2 or more years of study as a minimum for entry into the occupation, unless other criteria are provided in the program delivery instructions, as well as any other minimum requirements for entry defined in the NOC
  • paid work experience for a length of 4 years in the sector of activity of the contract.

For Japanese nationals, a Japanese associate’s degree, the equivalent of such a degree or a higher level of education is required.

The actual lists of which professions and technicians qualify for each country are lengthy, and can be found here. It is important to note that the list is different for each of Australia, Japan and Mexico.


To apply for an extension, applicants must:

  • apply before their current status expires;
  • comply with all the conditions that were imposed on entry; and
  • be in possession of a passport or travel document that is valid for the entire period authorized for their stay.

Examples of acceptable documentation to support an extension include the following:

  • a service contract extension justification from the offering enterprise;
  • updated business plans;
  • an offer for a new contract; and
  • feasibility studies and marketing plans.