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  • Writer's pictureHossein Alavi, RCIC

Navigating the CUSMA Trade Agreement: A Canadian Perspective on Work Permit Categories

Updated: Apr 10

Unifying Talent Across Borders: Canada, the United States, and Mexico

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a comprehensive trade agreement that has redefined the economic and trade relations among its member countries. One significant aspect of CUSMA is its impact on the mobility of skilled workers within the region. In this blog post, we will explore the various work permit categories under CUSMA from a Canadian perspective, detailing the positions and requirements for each category.

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CUSMA Work Permit Categories

Under CUSMA, four temporary work permit categories have been established for Canadian employers seeking to hire foreign professionals from the United States and Mexico. These categories are T21, T22, T23, and T24, each with its own specific set of requirements and eligible occupations.

T21 - Professionals

The T21 category facilitates the entry of qualified professionals who possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree in their respective fields. This category covers a wide range of occupations, including engineers, architects, accountants, and scientists, among others. To qualify, the applicant must have a pre-arranged job offer from a Canadian employer, and the position must be related to their field of expertise.

The list of professionals under the T21 category of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) includes a wide range of occupations that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in their respective fields. Some of these professionals are:

  • Accountants

  • Architects

  • Engineers (Aerospace, Agricultural, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Geological, Industrial, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Mining, and Petroleum)

  • Urban planners and Geographers

  • Economists

  • Management consultants

  • Technical publication writers

  • Graphic designers

  • Interior designers

  • Land surveyors

  • Nutritionists

  • Occupational therapists

  • Pharmacists

  • Physiotherapists

  • Registered nurses

  • Veterinarians

  • Medical laboratory technologists

  • Psychologists

  • Social workers

  • Dentists

  • Medical doctors

  • Scientists (Agricultural, Animal Breeder, Animal Scientist, Astronomer, Biochemist, Biologist, Botanist, Chemist, Geologist, Geophysicist, Meteorologist, Physicist, Soil Scientist, and Zoologist)

  • Mathematicians and Statisticians

  • Librarians

  • College and university educators

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and may be subject to change. It is important to consult the most up-to-date information provided by the Canadian government or seek guidance from an immigration professional when applying for a work permit under the T21 category.

T22 - Intra-Company Transferees

The T22 category is designed for employees of multinational companies who need to transfer to their Canadian affiliate, subsidiary, or parent company. To qualify, the applicant must have been employed by the company for at least one year within the past three years in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a role involving specialized knowledge. The individual must be transferring to a similar position in Canada and demonstrate that their skillset is essential to the Canadian operation.

T23 - Traders and Investors

The T23 category caters to individuals involved in substantial trade between Canada and their home country, or those who have made significant investments in Canadian enterprises. Traders must demonstrate a pattern of trade in goods or services, while investors must show a substantial investment in a Canadian business. Applicants in this category must also hold a supervisory or executive position or possess essential skills for the enterprise's operation.

T24 - Short-Term Temporary Entry

The T24 category covers short-term business visitors who do not directly enter the Canadian labor market. This includes individuals attending business meetings, conferences, or training sessions, as well as those engaged in after-sales services. Applicants in this category are not required to obtain a work permit, but they must not engage in activities that would constitute employment in Canada.

In summary, the CUSMA agreement has made it easier for Canadian employers to tap into a broader talent pool from the United States and Mexico. By understanding the various work permit categories and their requirements, businesses can take advantage of the opportunities presented by this important trade agreement.

At Immigrative, we offer personalized assistance with the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) work permit categories, helping individuals and businesses navigate the complex immigration process. Our experienced team provides comprehensive guidance on eligibility requirements, documentation, and application procedures for various categories like T21, T22, T23, and T24. By understanding the unique needs of each client, we aim to ensure a smooth experience for those seeking to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this important trade agreement. Contact us today to learn how we can streamline the process for a successful hiring or immigration plan in Canada.


This blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For personalized advice regarding your specific immigration situation, it is recommended to consult with an authorized immigration professional.

About the Author:

This blog post is authored by Hossein Alavi, RCIC, a seasoned Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and the founder and CEO of Immigrative Visa Services Inc. and EduPal Canada. With over ten years of experience in the education and immigration sectors, he is dedicated to assisting individuals and companies with their Canadian immigration needs. Contact Immigrative Visa Services Inc. today to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward realizing your Canadian dream.


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