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Post-Brexit impact on CETA mobility

Kathleen Leighton

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (“CETA”) includes mobility provisions between Canada and European Union (“EU”) member states, providing a useful route for investors, contractual service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, and business visitors to obtain authorization to carry out work activities in Canada.

Given the United Kingdom (“UK”) officially left the EU on Friday, January 31, 2020, are UK citizens still able to make use of CETA for work in Canada?

Transition period

Fortunately, no major changes immediately took place since the UK’s “Brexit” from the EU. The EU and UK were able to negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement that was signed on January 24, 2020 and formally approved on January 30, 2020. Accordingly, the UK has entered a transition period for approximately 11 months, at least until Dec 31, 2020, with possible extension.

During this transition period, the UK will have time to discuss the terms of its longer-term relationship with the EU, while otherwise benefiting from largely the same status. In particular, Canada has agreed that the UK can continue to be party to international treaties between the EU and Canada, including CETA.

Consequently, UK citizens should be able to continue to benefit from CETA’s mobility provisions to gain work authorization in Canada throughout the transition period.

Post-transition period

Once the transition period ends and the UK is no longer considered party to CETA, Canada and the UK would have to directly negotiate a bilateral agreement. Therefore, mobility options beyond the transition period are not yet clear.

However, for those who were considering CETA’s intra-company transferee provisions, there may still be opportunity under Canada’s general intra-company transferee category based on paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Similarly, individuals who were considering applying for a work permit on the basis of other CETA provisions may have options through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) process, or other LMIA-exempt work permit categories.

Our immigration group would be pleased to help you better understand your post-Brexit options to work in Canada as a citizen of the United Kingdom.


This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above, please contact a member of our Immigration group.

 

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