Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) have a new agreement, the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement (CUKTCA), which, among other provisions, allows certain UK nationals to work in Canada post-Brexit.
The CUKTCA came into force on April 1, 2021. It is used to process UK nationals who were previously covered under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Because of the UK’s exit from the European Union, as of January 1, 2021 citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) looking to work in Canada could no longer be processed under the CETA, an agreement that removes 98 percent of tariffs between Canada and the EU and allows certain service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors to work in Canada without those positions first needing to be offered to Canadian citizens. Because CETA is reciprocal, Canadians enjoy similar access to European labour markets as well.
The only difference in processing between the CUKTCA and CETA agreements is that a new special program code must be used during the application process. That code is: CUKTCA. More details on the CUKTCA application process are available here.
Because the CUKTCA and the CETA agreements are to all intents and purposes identical, eligible UK nationals (certain service providers, independent professionals, intra-company transferees, business visitors, and investors) continue to enjoy access to Canada’s labour market.
Like the CETA, the CUKTCA is exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. This means that hiring can take place through these agreements without a position needing to be offered to Canadians first.
Other LMIA-exempt work permit categories include the youth mobility program known as International Experience Canada (IEC), the Intra-Company Transfer program, significant benefit, and reciprocal employment. UK nationals who are not eligible under the CUKTCA may instead be eligible under one of these categories.
Work permit categories are distinct from Canada’s immigration programs for permanent residence, which remain open to applications from UK citizens. Work permits allow people to work in Canada for a temporary period only, whereas permanent residence allows people to live and work in Canada permanently, as the name suggests. The Express Entry system for permanent residence is popular among British candidates, many of whom score highly for their language ability and levels of education, among other factors.