The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement came into force on August 15, 2011. It contains reciprocal provisions to facilitate the entry of business people and workers between the two countries.

There are provisions that will apply to citizens and permanent residents of Colombia seeking Canadian work permits, including intracompany transferees, traders/investors, spouses, professionals and technicians.

The FTA’s intra-company transferee criteria allows a transferee to apply for a work permit after only six months work experience with the related Colombian entity, whereas the NAFTA and IRPA rules have a higher threshold as they both require a foreign national to gain 12 consecutive months of work experience with a related company outside of Canada prior to being able to get an intra-company transferee work permit.

Employers in Canada seeking to hire Colombian citizens or permanent residents should consider whether the FTA provides a work permit option.

Operational Bulletin on Canada-Colombia FTA