On September 30, 2018, representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico announced that negotiations surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had concluded, and that NAFTA is to be replaced by the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA). The immigration-related provisions of USMCA largely mirror those currently under NAFTA. NAFTA will likely remain in force until USMCA is ratified and implemented by each country.
Under NAFTA, the immigration related provisions are found in Chapter 16: Temporary Entry for Business Persons. The new agreement, entitled the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA), has largely kept Chapter 16 intact, with few minor changes. The changes include: updated scope; removal of numerical limits related to Professionals; Working Group considerations; and potential visa requirement changes relating to Traders and Investors. That said, the provisions relating to Business Visitors, Traders and Investors, Intra-Company Transferees, and Professionals remain almost entirely the same. It will be up to each country to decide how it will implement USMCA, and any of the changes therein, if at all.
Although it was anticipated that the list of NAFTA Professional occupations would be modernized to take into account evolving roles, including the emergence of new technology-related professions, the list remains unchanged at this time.
The new Agreement does not appear to change the provisions regarding the temporary entry for business persons that are currently in place under NAFTA. As such, the provisions relating to B-1, E-1/E-2, L-1 and TN entry into the US, and the corresponding Business Visitors, Traders and Investors, Intra-Company Transferees, and Professionals in Canada and Mexico, will likely remain intact once the USMCA takes effect. We will monitor and advise clients as to the progress of the USMCA as it continues through the ratification and implementation process.
For more information on this, or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.