Expedited work permits under CUKTCA

Shelby Thevenot
Published: May 25, 2021

U.K. nationals are now able to apply for expedited work permits to work in Canada.

The post-Brexit trade agreement between Canada and the U.K. came into effect on April 1, 2021. U.K. nationals who were previously covered under CETA are now eligible for work permits under CUKTCA, which stands for the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement. These work permit programs allow for expedited processing because they do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

If you are a U.K. national already working in Canada under CETA and you want to extend your work permit, you have to fill out a new application for CUKTCA.

The Canada-U.K. trade agreement is modelled after CETA. Here are some of the programs available to U.K. nationals, which immigration officers will process under CUKTCA.

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Business visitors

There are two categories of business visitors: short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes.

Short-term business investors can stay up to 90 days in a six-month period. They may come to Canada for the purposes of a specific project. Some of the duties they may carry out include meetings and consultations, research and design, or marketing research, among others. They cannot come to sell goods or services, receive remuneration from a Canadian source, or be engaged in the supply of a service, with some exceptions.

Business visitors coming for investment purposes must be an employee in a managerial or specialist position. They are responsible for setting up an enterprise, but not to engage in direct transactions with the public, nor receive payment from a Canadian source.


Key personnel involved in an investment can stay in Canada for one year, with the possibility of an extension.

The investor provisions apply to applicants who:

  • will establish, develop, or administer the operation of an investment in a capacity that is supervisory or executive;
  • are the investor; or
  • are employed by an enterprise that has committed or is in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital.

Contractors and professionals

Contractual service suppliers and independent professionals may be able to come to Canada through CUKTCA. There are some differences in what sectors the two categories may be eligible for, for instance, financial managers may not apply as independent professionals.

In general, both need to be supplying a service for no longer than one year, and contracted to provide an eligible service. Also, both categories of applicants must have a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level, and if required, professional qualifications to practice an activity according to the regulations of the province or territory where the service is supplied.

Intra-company transferees

When companies want to transfer key personnel to Canada, they may do so under the Intra-corporate (company) provisions. Eligible applicants must be either senior personnel, specialists, or graduate trainees.

These personnel may stay up to three years, or the length of the contract. There may be a possibility of an extension for up to 18 months.

Engineering and scientific technologists

Engineering and scientific technologists who have a job offer in Canada, may be eligible under the agreement. The employer needs to submit the offer of employment through the Canadian government's employer portal, and pay $230 employer compliance fee.

Both categories of technologists need to demonstrate that they have the qualifications to be carrying out their duties in Canada. There are different criteria for technologists applying as contractual service suppliers, and independent professionals. The key difference is that contractors need to be an employee of the U.K.-based enterprise for at least one year, with three years of professional experience. Independent professionals are self-employed, and they need at least six years of professional experience.

There are also specific criteria for each sector. Engineering technologists need at least a three-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognized institution in engineering technology. Scientific technologists also need a three-year credential from a recognized institution in the discipline of agriculture, architecture, biology, chemistry, physics, forestry, geology, geophysics, mining or energy.

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