CUSMA Professional Work Permits for IT Workers

Last updated: 28 August 2020

A facilitated and expedited work permit option is available through the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement or CUSMA (formerly known as NAFTA) to those citizens of the US and Mexico in certain occupations.

Usually, in order for a foreign national to acquire a Canadian work permit, the Canadian employer must first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). A LMIA serves to demonstrate that there are no Canadian resources available to fill the position and that hiring a foreign national will either have a neutral or positive impact on the Canadian labour market.

This is not the case for those foreign nationals who can benefit from a CUSMA professional work permit, for which the list of eligible occupations can be found here. For these individuals, the Canadian employer extending the offer of employment is exempt from the LMIA requirement, thus rendering them more attractive to Canadian employers and increasing the likelihood of work permit approval.

Foreign nationals trained in IT/Tech are well positioned to take advantage of CUSMA as two of the occupations on the CUSMA professional list fall squarely in the field of IT/Tech. The two occupations are Computer Systems Analyst and Graphic Designer.

For those foreign nationals who can receive consideration under either of these categories, applying for a Canadian work permit is greatly facilitated and the process is greatly expedited. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology, more and more areas of Canadian industry are intertwined with the IT/Tech field, thus making workers in these categories valuable commodities. As a result of this, these workers will be more actively sought by Canadian employers to occupy various positions within their organizations.

Because of the heavy demand, it is only logical that Canadian employers will often have to look beyond the pool of available Canadian IT/Tech workers to those foreign nationals who are trained in the field. The two CUSMA professional occupations related to IT/Tech allow Mexican and American workers who are qualified in these domains to take advantage of this fact by increasing the likelihood and the speed with which Canadian work authorization can be procured.

Canadian employers: To learn more about your options for hiring foreign workers, please visit this TFWP page. If you wish to hire through the TFWP, please contact A legal expert will provide a free consultation.

Foreign workers: If you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer and wish to submit an inquiry about getting a work permit and working legally in Canada, please complete the form on this page.