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Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) provides an accelerated pathway towards a Canadian work permit for selected applicants from South Korea. 

Qualified applicants are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which makes the application process simpler and faster for employers. 

Canadian employers may hire Korean nationals primarily through categories for Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees.

What Can Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement Do for My Business?

Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement is based on the NAFTA agreement and therefore most requirements remain the same. The agreement facilitates entry to Canada for four main groups of applicants:

  • business visitors
  • professionals
  • intra-company transferees
  • traders and investors

Although the CKFTA and NAFTA agreements are similar, there are some important differences. Continue reading to learn about the changes applicable to Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees.

Professionals

The CKFTA identifies two groups of professionals:

  • Contract Service Supplier
  • Independent Professional

Contract Service Supplier

A Contract Service Supplier is a person who is employed by a company in South Korea, and who supplies a contracted service to a company in Canada. 

This person continues to be an employee of the Korean company while performing the duties of the contract in Canada. 

As a prerequisite, the Canadian and the Korean companies must have a service contract signed. In this scenario, the Canadian company is the final consumer of the contracted service.

For a list of permitted occupations and educational/experience requirements for applicants from South Korea, click here.

Example: A Canadian architectural firm contracts a Korean company to provide specialized services in the field of interior design solutions. An experienced Architect, an employee of the Korean company, seeks entry to Canada to provide architectural services under the terms of the pre-arranged service contract.

Independent Professional

An Independent Professional is a self-employed South Korean professional who seeks to deliver professional services to an enterprise or service consumer in Canada. The professional services must be a part of a service contract provided by the consumer of the services.  

For a list of permitted occupations and educational/experience requirements for applicants from South Korea, click here.

Example: A self-employed Korean engineer seeks entry to Canada to provide services to an engineering company under the terms of the pre-arranged contract.

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Intra-Company Transferees

The requirements for intra-company transferees remain identical to the NAFTA agreement. 

In order to qualify, a Korean national must be employed by a South Korean enterprise in a managerial or executive capacity, or in one which involves specialized knowledge. At the same time, the Korean national is being transferred to a Canadian enterprise, which is in a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate relationship to its Korean counterpart. 

The transferee will provide services in the same capacity as in his/her home company. Refer to the NAFTA agreement for detailed overview of the intra-company transferee category.

Management Trainee on Professional Development

As in the Canada-Peru and Canada-Colombia FTAs, the Intra-Company Transferee category has been expanded to include a sub-category for ‘Management Trainee on Professional Development.’ Click here to review information on this sub-category.

Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement - Full Text

For the full text of the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement, click here.

Listed Professionals

In the instances when the listed Korean and Canadian educational requirements differ, for entry into Canada, the Canadian educational requirements shall be deemed to be met whenever the Korean professional has met the Korean educational requirements and the Canadian client or employer has provided a letter indicating that the Korean professional’s qualifications are satisfactory.

Independent Professional

Profession

Canadian Requirements

Korean Requirements

Architect

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Bachelor degree; or professional license

Engineer

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Management Consultant

Bachelor degree

Bachelor degree

Veterinarian

Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine; or provincial license

Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine; or provincial license

Contract Service Supplier

Profession

Canadian Requirements

Korean Requirements

Accountant

Bachelor degree; or Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), or Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Professional license

Actuary

Bachelor degree and membership in a professional actuarial association

Professional license

Agrologist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Architect

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Landscape Architect

Bachelor degree

Bachelor degree

Apiculturalist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Auditor

Bachelor degree; or CPA, CA, CGA or CMA

Professional license

Biologist

This category would include the following:

  • Botanist
  • Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Embryologist
  • Toxicologist
  • Enzymologist
  • Etiologist
  • Bacteriologist
  • Geneticist
  • Histologist
  • Helminthologist
  • Human Physiologist
  • Pathologist
  • Immunologist
  • Mycologist
  • Naturalist
  • Physiologist
  • Virologist
  • Serologist
  • Plant Pathologist
  • Crop Scientist
  • Anatomist
  • Bryologist
  • Cytochemist
  • Ecobiologist
  • Echthyologist
  • Nematologist
  • Osteologist
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Biochemist
  • Plant Breeder
  • Animal Breeder
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Food Scientist
  • Animal Scientist
  • Zoologist
  • Dairy Scientist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Chemist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Engineer

Bachelor degree; or provincial license

Bachelor degree; or professional license

Forester

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Geoscientist

This category would include the following:

  • Palaeontologist
  • Petrologist
  • Sedimentologist
  • Seismologist
  • Strategrapher
  • Glaciologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Oceanographer
  • Petrophysicist
  • Quaternarist
  • Volcanologist
  • Metallurgist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Horticulturalist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Management Consultant

Bachelor degree

Bachelor degree

Meteorologist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Physical Scientist

This category would include the following:

  • Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • Aerodynamicist
  • Cosmologist
  • Research Scientist
  • Radiation Biophysicist
  • Rheologist

Post-graduate degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Sylviculturalist

Bachelor degree

Master degree and three years of experience; or doctorate

Urban and Land Use Planner

Bachelor degree

Bachelor degree

Veterinarian

Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine; or professional license

Bachelor degree; or professional license

Information System Analyst Database Analyst and Data Administrator

Bachelor degree in computer sciences or a related discipline and two years of experience in computer science;
Bachelor degree and five years of experience in the field of computer science and information systems; or
A Canadian I.S.P. designation (Information Systems Professional of Canada) or a license or designation from a recognised foreign certification body

Bachelor degree or Post-secondary diploma in computer science or a related discipline and seven years of experience in computer and information systems;
Bachelor degree or Post secondary diplomas and nine years of experience in computer and information systems; or
Engineering Mobility Forum (EMF) license in the case of Professional engineers

Computer Programmer and Interactive Media Develope

Bachelor degree in computer science or a related discipline and two years of experience in computer science;
Bachelor degree and five years of experience in the field of computer science and information systems; or
A Canadian I.S.P. designation (Information Systems Professional of Canada) or a license or designation from a recognised foreign certification body

Bachelor degree or Post secondary diploma in computer sciences or a related discipline and seven years of experience in computer and information systems;
Bachelor degree or Post secondary diplomas and nine years of experience in computer and information systems; or
EMF license in the case of Professional engineers

Software Engineer and Designer

Bachelor degree in computer sciences or a related discipline and two years of experience in computer science;
Bachelor degree and five years of experience in the field of computer science and information systems; or
A Canadian I.S.P. designation (Information Systems Professional of Canada) or a license or designation from a recognised foreign certification body

Bachelor degree or Post secondary diploma in computer science or a related discipline and seven years of experience in computer and information systems;
Bachelor degree or Post secondary diplomas and nine years of experience in computer and information systems; or
EMF license in the case of Professional engineers

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