Anyone have experience w/ working in Canada as a US Citizen

I’m an Industrial Designer and I’m considering taking a job in Calgary.

Yes it’s a little bit crazy to move there for a job, but at this point it sounds like a good opportunity to continue my career in the furniture market and frankly moving to another country beats the hell out of sitting on unemployment for potentially over a year and eventually succumbing to the depressing reality of making a career change if I don’t find work.

I will have an offer for full time employment, and I qualify under NAFTA as a “Professional Foreign Worker” and my job title is listed under appendix 1603.D.1 so I DON’T have to apply for HRSDC approval because of this so I imagine that will make the process easier.

Anyway, I’m wondering if any of you have made a similar move and have some experience with applying for a work permit in Canada?

If you did, how long did it take for approval?

I’ve looked into the reverse (Canadian working in the US) and from what I understand the process is equal both ways thanks to NAFTA. A professional and qualified industrial designer counts to get a TN (I think it is called on the US side, not sure what it is in Canada) visa which requires nothing more than showing up at the border with a job offer and paying $50 to get a visa on the spot. I think it has to be renewed every year but is equally as easy, AFAIK.

This link might be of help.


I’ve obtained a citizenship from another country to the USA, done the same for my wife, and helped others as well and its torturous.

In comparison I found getting paperwork to work in Canada to be smooth, simple and trouble free. Take your invitation the Canadian employer has given you to the nearest CA consulate and all is in order quite easily and quickly, you are given a document immediately to go. I find moving back and forth from the US to CA to be troublefree, its only problematic dealing with the US customs officials (who can be a$$es and rude), even with an American passport.

You get your healthcare papers in 3 months to my recollection. Quite good I must say, the care in Canada is a good as better than the states, and the nurses and doctors were very pleasant.

this is super interesting. Does the sponsoring firm have to pay for this or only the hassle of the paperwork?

no sponsoring necessary, no paperwork. As mentioned, just show up at the border and fill out some form I guess and pay $50. I’ve never done it myself, but have heard the process is that easy. Nothing in advance to do.


no sponsoring necessary, no paperwork. As mentioned, just show up at the border and fill out some form I guess and pay $50. I’ve never done it myself, but have heard the process is that easy. Nothing in advance to do.


That’s the truth. Brits can get all particular on you also, but are less likely to have you go through something stupid.

wow, I had no idea.
I would assume that this works the same way from Europe to the US as it does from Canada to the US?
If this is the case, I was crudely misinformed.

No, europe is totally different. It’s nafta. R

Taken from the above link that Rich posted:

your work permit must have been confirmed by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) through a positive labour market opinion or you must be in a category that is exempt from an Arranged Employment Opinion

See this is why I think it’s a little bit more involved then showing up to the boarder or a consulate office with a letter of job offer in hand.

I’ve done some reading up on this website before and from what I understand the “Labour Market Opinion” basically states whether or not your employment takes a way a Canadian’s job, or if it does not and you can provide a unique skill that is not as easily provided by a Canadian citizen.

I have read that thanks to certain NAFTA stipulations that Industrial Designers appear to fall under a special “skilled worker” category and may be exempt from the Labour Market Opinion process. So I think I may be able to skip over the LMO certification, I’m mainly wondering if someone in in the immigration department is going to rubber stamp this the minute they see it, or if it will sit on a desk waiting to be processed for 3 months. I would think my employer would have to submit some paper work on my behalf beforehand too. I just hate to drive 1,500 miles with a U-Haul truck and find out that I’m going to be denied a work permit!

Not 100% sure (never actually been through this process), but my understanding is that an IDer qualifies for one of these exempt categories…

Sure you could call the authorities to cfm.


Yeah, I think once I get closer to a job offer I’m going to start making some phone calls. I don’t want to scare them or give the impression that I’m being presumptuous right now by asking them about all this. Things are moving along right now, and hopefully in mid August I’ll be taking the next step towards employment or some contract work with them. I spoke to the company president again this past week and he said they are going to be meeting during the 1st week of August to discuss their upcoming Product Development plans. Their present Industrial Designer is on maternity leave for the next 10 months I think so this bodes well for me.

Make sure you don’t have any drunk driving arrests in the US, big No-No in Canada, you’ll be turned away right at the border.