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NAFTA Becomes USMCA – TN Visa Untouched

October 3, 2018

TN unscathed in renegotiated agreement.

Update: The immigration provision of NAFTA have survived renegotiation. The new agreement (now known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA) is expected to take effect around January 1, 2020. The TN Professional visa will remain an option for qualified Canadian and Mexican professionals employed in the United States.

Analysis: While some in Canada hoped the negotiations would improve mobility for Canadian citizens, possibly modernizing the list of professions eligible for the TN Professional category, the CBC reports, “It appears that list isn’t changing and no commitments have been made to increase the number of TN visas issued by the United States, or to otherwise make it easier for citizens to work across North American borders.” As one commentator wrote, in accepting the status quo, “Canada’s trade negotiators took the best deal available.”

With this agreement, the deal moves from the negotiation phase to the confirmation process. The leaders of all three countries are expected to sign the agreement in November (before Mexico swears in a new president on December 1). The deal must then be approved by the US Congress; a vote is expected after the mid-term election. For USMCA, according to the Washington Post, “confirmation looks likely, given that Republicans are pleased Canada got on board and some Democrats are pleased with the stronger labor provisions.”