Immigration Provisions in U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Similar to Those in NAFTA

Canada and the United States have reached an agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a new trade deal, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Mexico had reached an agreement with the U.S. earlier on the matter. Congress must agree to the changes before the USMCA can go into effect.

Unlikely to Have Significant Immigration Impact

NAFTA included a number of immigration provisions, most notably the TN category. This nonimmigrant visa category – although Canadians actually are exempt from having to get a visa – allows qualifying citizens of Mexico and Canada to work in certain professional positions in the United States.

The immigration provisions in the USMCA use substantially similar language to the corresponding provisions in NAFTA. Accordingly, the assumption is that, if the USMCA does go into effect, the immigration consequences will be minimal.


Until the USMCA is finalized, there is no way to know for certain whether any changes will be made. Given that much of the language in the USMCA relating to immigration is virtually identical to what is included in NAFTA, there is reason to believe that the status quo will remain with regard to the movement of people between the three countries.


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