The US may not seem as immigrant-friendly as it did five or ten years ago. However, this does not mean you should completely ignore the option of immigrating to the US. For an ambitious foreign skilled worker, the smartest immigration strategy would be one that focuses on Canada as well as the US.

Immigration Suspension—a Hidden Opportunity

President Trump’s decision to suspend work visas and immigrant visas until the end of 2020 is widely considered as a big negative for foreign skilled workers. However, you can actually convert this into an opportunity by speeding up your Canada immigration plans.

Six months can be a very long time when you can qualify for a high-skilled work permit in Canada within just two weeks. So, don’t just close your US immigration plans yet. Instead, try to take advantages of the unique linkages that exist between US and Canadian immigration programs.

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The TN Visa

Successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States Mexico Canada Agreement retains the TN Visa without any major changes. This means a Canadian citizen with a job offer in the US can apply for and qualify for a work visa at the port of entry to the US.

The agreements covered under this option include healthcare professionals, scientists, and a wide range of other professional occupations.

L-1A Intracompany Transfer

The TN visa is open only to citizens, which means it can only be a strategic or long-term option. Those exploring short-term options to work in the US can consider the L-1 intracompany transfer. This visa allows any US employer to transfer a skilled worker executive or manager for a foreign office, like Canada, to its US office.

Considering the rise in number of US tech firms and other employers setting up offices in Canada, this can definitely help you work for your dream employer in Canada as well as the US.

The advantages of this visa include no Labor Condition Application (the US equivalent to the Canadian LMIA), no annual caps or limits, and permissible dual intent for non-immigrant work visa as well as the immigrant visa.  

Finally, this option is open to non citizens as well, which means you can explore this path for your short-term immigration plan as well.

Canada Options

Your country of origin does not matter a lot when applying for Canada immigration. This is because Canada’s merit-centric immigration system relies more upon your skills, education, work experience, and other eligibility conditions.

You can apply for the standard work permit or the fast-track Global Talent Stream work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. For permanent residence, you can apply through three federal programs or multiple Express Entry streams of provincial nomination programs.

Or, you can focus on the PNP route and explore non-Express Entry streams designed for skilled workers in different occupations.

The pandemic has led to disrupted immigration strategies of skilled workers across the world. A smart approach combining the US and Canada along with professional immigration assistance will help you make your immigration dreams come true.

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