After the United Kingdom departed from the European Union, certain agreements between England and other countries as a result of its former membership with the EU no longer applied. For example, the United Kingdom was included as part of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) while it was still included within the European Union. Under CETA, citizens of European Union states are eligible to apply for work permits in Canada. An important feature of this work permit program is that they allow for expedited processing as a result of the fact that they do not require the applicant or the employer to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment. For United Kingdom nationals in Canada who came under the auspices of CETA, there was a sort of limbo state where they were unsure of how their status would be viewed in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

New United Kingdom-Canada Immigration Regulations

Now, Canada and the United Kingdom have come to a new agreement in order to replace CETA. The new agreement between the two countries is called the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement (Canada-UK TCA). The new agreement is largely a continuation of the CETA conditions, except this agreement is solely between the UK and Canada.

The impact of Brexit on UK nationals who are already in Canada is that there residency is now governed by the Canada-UK TCA rather than CETA. If a UK national came to Canada under a CETA work permit, in order to apply for an extension they now will need to make their application under Canada-UK TCA.

Similar to the CETA, the Canada-UK TCA will allow UK nationals to come to Canada through different classifications including investors, business visitors, contractors and professionals, intra-company transferees and engineering and scientific technologists. Each category has different application requirements, and each provides for a different amount of time within Canada before an extension will be necessary.


Personnel who are involved in an investment can be granted a visa for one year with the possibility of extension. In order to be classified as an investor, one must:

  • Be the actual investor,
  • Be in a position to establish, develop, or administer the operation of an investment in a capacity that is supervisory or executive, or
  • Be employed by an enterprise that has committed a substantial amount of capital.

Intra-Company Transferees

International companies may send their employees to work in Canada as an intra-company transferee. People eligible under this classification have to be senior personnel, specialists, or graduate trainees. Coming to Canada as an intra-company transferee allows someone to stay in Canada for an initial period of up to three years or for the length of their contract. There is also an extension potential of up to 18 months.

Business Visitors

Short-term business visitors are more restricted on how long they can stay in Canada, and what they are allowed to do when they are here. Business visitors can only stay in Canada for up to 90 days during any given six-month period. Further, they must come to Canada for the purposes of a specific project and are prohibited from selling goods or services or receiving payment from a Canadian source.

Contractors and Professionals

For this category, an applicant must be contracted to provide an eligible service for no longer than one year. In order to apply under this category, applicants must have a university degree or some sort of qualification demonstrating their knowledge to an equivalent level.

Engineering and Scientific Technologists

For this group, the applicant must have a job offer in place and their employer must submit the offer of employment to the Canadian government. The applicants must also show that they have the necessary qualifications to carry out their duties within Canada. Engineering applicants must have acquired at least a 3-year post-secondary degree whereas scientific applicants need at least a three-year degree in a scientific discipline.

Overall, the implementation of the Canada-UK TCA will ensure that workers in Canada from the United Kingdom can apply for extensions under the same conditions from CETA. Additionally, the agreement ensures that new UK national applicants can still come to Canada, provided that they fall into one of the categories under the agreement.

Cross-Border Vaccine Clinic Update

Last week, we wrote about how some Canadians were able to cross the Canada-United States border in order to receive vaccines within the United States. The Blackfeet tribe located in the state of Montana had received extra vaccines and set up a clinic to offer them to Canadians. This cross-border vaccine program initially received approval from both the Canadian and American governments, and Albertans began to cross the border in order to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, some Canadians in British Columbia and Ontario attempted to cross the border to be vaccinated only to be turned away at the border. This created some confusion amongst Canadians, as some Canadians were allowed over the border, while others were denied as the “essentiality” of travelling to be vaccinated was disputed by United States Customs and Border Patrol.

Now, the situation has been made clearer. Crossing the border to receive a vaccine is not “essential” so Canadians will be unable to cross the border for the purpose of receiving a vaccine. The essential classification that determines crossing will remain in place for at least another month as it was confirmed that the border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020 will continue to be in place until at least June 21, 2021.

If you happen to be in the United States already or do have an essential reason for crossing the border, you can book a vaccine appointment within the United States, however, border patrol will not let you cross the border if that is the primary purpose of your visit.

Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Timely Immigration Advice and Assistance

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We are dedicated to successfully guiding clients through the immigration process. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. 

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about your potential classification as essential or about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

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