Malaysians can work in Canada more easily with the inclusion of the country under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The ratification provides opportunities for business visitors, intra-corporate transferees, professionals and technicians under the International Mobility Program (IMP).

In late November last year, the CPTPP was expanded to include Malaysia, putting the total number of countries under the agreement to nine. 

These include: 

  • Canada;
  • Australia;
  • Japan;
  • Malaysia;
  • Mexico;
  • New Zealand;
  • Singapore;
  • Vietnam, and;
  • Peru.

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When the agreement was first struck in late December 2018, it included only six countries, including Canada. Then, Vietnam came aboard in early 2019, Peru in late 2021, and Malaysia last year. 

Under the CPTPP, business visitors are exempt from having to get a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and investors, intra-corporate transferees and professionals and technicians are spared the hassles of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

“Work permits may be extended at the discretion of the officer assessing the application, provided that the necessary documentary evidence has been submitted by the applicant to support the request,” notes the IRCC on its website. 

“To extend a CPTPP work permit, the employer must submit a new offer of employment and the applicant must comply with regular work permit extension requirements.”

Acceptable documentation to support an extension to a work permit in this circumstance includes:

  • a service contract extension justification from the offering enterprise;
  • updated business plans;
  • an offer for a new contract, or;
  • feasibility studies and marketing plans.

“Depending on the citizenship of the principal applicant, work authorization for accompanying spouses is also facilitated, with the exception of business visitors,” notes the IRCC. “For spouses, the length of stay, including extensions, should be the same as the principal applicant.”

Business Visitors Can Stay In Canada For Six Months Under The CPTPP And May Get An Extension

An open work permit can be issued to the spouse of an investor, professional, technician or intra-corporate transferee if the principal applicant is one of the following:

  • a citizen of Australia, Japan or Mexico;
  • a permanent resident of Australia, or;
  • a citizen of Malaysia for an intra-company transferee (executives and managers only).

Under the CPTPP, business visitors from member countries can stay for six months in Canada, with possible extensions. Canada has reciprocal commitments with all CPTPP members with different requirements for each member.

Intra-corporate transferees can stay for up to three years in Canada, with possible extensions and investors can remain in Canada for up to one year, with possible extensions.

Highly-skilled professionals and technicians can stay for up to one year in Canada, with possible extensions.

Canada’s commitments to professionals and technicians are subject to knowledge, education, experience and wage requirements.

The professional requirements include: 

  • theoretical and practical application of specialised knowledge;
  • post-secondary degree of four or more years of study;
  • two years of paid work experience in the field, and;
  • remuneration in line with the prevailing wage for the occupation.

The requirements for technicians include the following:

  • theoretical and practical application of specialised knowledge;
  • post-secondary or technical degree of two or more years of study;
  • four years of paid work experience in the field, and;
  • remuneration in line with the prevailing wage for the occupation.

The IMP allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a Canadian work permit without the need for an LMIA.

The rationale for the exemption from the LMIA process is that these are positions which provide broad economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada, and also reciprocal benefits for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Workers entering Canada under the IMP must be eligible as part of trade treaties, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) – or the CPTPP. 

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