British Nationals will remain under CETA until December 31, 2020

Mohanad Moetaz
Published: December 29, 2020

British citizens who were exempt from needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will now need to get one if they wish to work in Canada starting January 1, 2021.

Nationals from the United Kingdom will continue to be processed under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) until the end of 2020.

Last month, Canada and the United Kingdom signed a new transitional post-Brexit trade agreement called the Canada-U.K. Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA). As the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union, it was important to strike a new deal between Canada and the U.K. so as not to disrupt trade between the two countries. In fact, a study by Global Affairs Canada found that without a deal, the gross domestic product of both countries would have decreased, and that over 2,000 Canadian jobs would have been lost.

Ratification of the deal is expected to go into effect in early 2021. From January 1 until ratification is confirmed, British citizens who wish to work in Canada can only do so if they meet the requirements of an LMIA-exempt work permit category, or if they obtain an LMIA.

Previously, British citizens with eligible occupations were LMIA-exempt under the CETA agreement. This will no longer be the case. Once the new Canada-U.K. TCA is confirmed, it will contain a new list of occupations that are LMIA-exempt.

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The new Canada-U.K. TCA essentially replicates many of the terms that were part of CETA. This allows more time for both Canada and the U.K. to consider the terms they wish to have permanently. In addition, this means that some British citizens may be LMIA-exempt under the new deal depending on their occupation.

What is an LMIA?

Before hiring a foreign worker, Canadian employers need to demonstrate to the Canadian government that there is a need to hire a foreign worker to fill a specific job. This is achieved by obtaining an LMIA document. A positive LMIA means that there is indeed a need to hire a foreign worker. In some cases, some work permits do not need an LMIA. This is usually the result of free trade agreements such as the CETA, and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA, formerly NAFTA).

There are also some LMIA-exempt open work permits that are available for workers who do not yet have a job offer, such as post-graduate work permits that are available to international graduates, as well as spousal open work permits.

Open work permits allows holders to work for any employer in Canada, whereas closed work permits allow holders to only work for one specific employer.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article suggested that all British citizens were LMIA-exempt under the CETA deal. This is incorrect. Only those with eligible occupations were LMIA-exempt. We sincerely apologize and regret any misunderstanding caused by the errors contained in the previous version.

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