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General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) facilitates entry of business persons into Canada on a temporary basis without the need of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). All WTO member nations are also members of GATS. Three types of business persons are covered under GATS, namely business visitors, intra-company transferees and professionals. Professionals can enter Canada under exemption codes T33 whereas intra-company transferees are authorized to enter under C12. Under IRPR 186(a), no work permit is required for the business visitors.


Workers under GATS can stay for a consecutive period of 90 days or three months in a year to perform services under a signed contract between a Canadian service consumer and a service provider of a WTO member nation. Citizens of member nations (164 nations in WTO) and Permanent Residents from Australia and New Zealand can benefit under the GATS.


There are specific protocols for the entry of professionals under GATS, which facilitates the temporary entry of a limited list of professionals employed by service providers of Member nations, in those service sectors to which Canada has made commitments. These professionals should possess the required academic credentials and professional qualifications, which must be recognized by the professional association in Canada. There are 2 distinct groups: Group 1 & Group 2. Group 1 comprises of Engineers, Agrologists, Architects, Forestry professionals, Geomatics professionals and Land surveyors, whereas Group 2 includes Foreign legal consultants, Urban planners and Senior computer specialists. For group 2, foreign service provider must not have presence in Canada. Professionals cannot provide service in the sectors of education, health-related, cultural, recreational or sports activities.

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