Author Topic: Immigration routes to North America  (Read 11067 times)

m.b.

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Immigration routes to North America
« on: May 03, 2014, 03:50:39 AM »
Some background: we are a couple from Israel, both architects. Currently we practice frugality more as means to financial independence than early retirement. We plan to establish our own architecture office.

We are from Israel, and for a variety of reasons, we are looking to move to North America.

The current route we've found is via studies. I've been accepted to a one-year Master's program in urban planning/design (which is my area of interest). This would both allow my wife during my studies, and for me to stay for a year afterwards and work. During that time, we can apply for permanent residency via "Canadian experience" (one year of professional experience in Canada by my wife) or "Opportunities Ontario" (for master's graduates of Ontario schools).

However for us the plan has a few drawbacks:

1. The tuition fee (for international students) is very high, and there is virtually no funding. We are able to afford that, but the tuition + living costs would eat about a year's worth of savings (not including work).

2. The studies have their advantages but are not really necessary (I can practice Architecture and urban design with my current architecture degree + local license). If not for opening the immigration route, I would either not study at all or do it in Israel or in Europe where it's much cheaper.

3. We would much rather come via the "skilled worker" path, but for us it's only available if we get a work offer and the employer takes care of an apparently whole bunch of bureaucracy. With current market demand, it doesn't look very possible but maybe I'm wrong.

4. We really like the idea of living in Canada, but afraid that if we find it too cold we won't be able to move to a warmer area, unlike say in the states. However immigrating to the states is nearly impossible, or so it seems...?


We'd be happy for any advice about possible alternatives or anything else!

Jules13

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 06:50:21 AM »
The only other thing I can think of is the Green Card Lottery.  I'm sure you know about this.  Have you entered?  Might seem like a long shot, but my husband actually "won" his green card this way before we were married.  We have another friend who "won" as well.  Good luck!

goodlife

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 06:54:02 AM »
Ok, I'll give you my two cents on this. I am not an immigration lawyer, but have personal experience with both the US and Canadian immigration systems. First, the US is a complete waste of time in my opinion (not the country, I mean the immigration system). The whole system is totally broken and it's pretty impossible to get a Greencard unless you do it through family relationships. I have lived there for years and have many friends there who have PhDs (in like bioengineering and what not) and they all have been trying to get a Greencard for years and most of them left in the end because their visas ran out before they ever got a Greencard. H1B visas (the work visa you would normally get if you have a job there) are valid for up to 6 years (3 years initially, then extendable for another 3) and it's pretty difficult to get a Greencard in that timeframe. Also, you are often underpaid in the meantime...and of course you can't just quit your job and find a new one because, well, you need your current employer for your Greencard sponsorship. So in summary, in my opinion, forget the US until they do some real immigration reform.

Canada is a much better option in my opinion. Last time I looked into this (about a year ago), there was a point system and you could apply for permanent residency without employer sponsorship if your occupation fell into a category that was in high demand. Of course I don't know if Architecture is a high demand category, but I would check that out if I were you because this could be your route to go without having to do a degree. This program opens up once a year, but I can't remember at what time of year...could be around now though. However, having said this, from personal experience, it is always better to already be in the country and have a degree from that country when you apply for permanent residency, it will increase your chances greatly. So if you are really set on moving to Canada, then I think investing the money into the degree is well worth it for that reason. Also, if you lived in the country for a year before you apply for your permanent residency, you will have a much better understanding of how the system works which is something not to be undervalued. In any case, I think you will always need an immigration lawyer, so allocate some funds for this purpose. In Canada this is not too expensive though, I had one once for exactly this purpose and it would only have been 3-4k if I had gone through with the whole process.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

goodlife

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 06:55:11 AM »
Just saw the comment on the US Greencard Lottery, yes, you can try, I have played for 10 years and never won, lol! But no harm in trying, the next round of applications will be accepted in September or November.

Gimesalot

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 10:41:52 AM »
If your goal is to start an architecture firm, I would look into investor visas, if you have the cash.  You need $1MM for untargeted areas, and $500k for rural or targeted area.

Leisured

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 01:29:51 AM »
I live in Australia,and I think our immigration system is like Canada. Gives you another possibility.

m.b.

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 01:57:51 AM »
Thanks everybody. That's been very useful!

Juled13: Regarding the green card lottery, we pretty much ignored it because we have a chance of only about 1% each (so about 2% combined), not something to count on - however I'm glad you mentioned it and there is no reason not to try it anyway.

goodlife: What you describe is pretty much the reason we gave up in advance of the US, but I didn't know the chances were so grim even if you already get to work there!
In Canada, Architects used to be on the profession list, however they changed it before we had enough points to apply (we only had enough after my wife graduated). That's why we decided to go the degree route, and what you said definitely encourages us to stick with that plan. That money is really not that much in view of the grand scheme:)
Regarding the immigration lawyer - did you find using one helpful for the procedure or for the knowledge, or for both?

Gimesalot: Unfortunately we don't have that kind of money. We plan to work a few years to know the local aspects of the trade, and gradually open a firm (it doesn't require much capital investment).

Leisured: We may need to check into that. Australia did sound great, and I remember hearing architects' salaries there are the highest in the world:) But at the time we probably thought it would be too far from family, as is there is much difference from NA...

huadpe

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 07:24:37 AM »
There's another route for Canada. If you study in Canada for a couple of years then you  can get a post graduation work permit that lets you work for as long as your period of study was. Once you work for one year in Canada, then you can apply under the "Canadian experience class" for permanent residency. You can also do some work while enrolled in school.

It's still an expensive option, but it gives a clear path to a permanent status.

Edit: I see you already considered this. Only additional advice then would be to look at Quebec schools, which often have cheaper tuition.

goodlife

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 07:33:16 AM »
Thanks everybody. That's been very useful!

Juled13: Regarding the green card lottery, we pretty much ignored it because we have a chance of only about 1% each (so about 2% combined), not something to count on - however I'm glad you mentioned it and there is no reason not to try it anyway.

goodlife: What you describe is pretty much the reason we gave up in advance of the US, but I didn't know the chances were so grim even if you already get to work there!
In Canada, Architects used to be on the profession list, however they changed it before we had enough points to apply (we only had enough after my wife graduated). That's why we decided to go the degree route, and what you said definitely encourages us to stick with that plan. That money is really not that much in view of the grand scheme:)
Regarding the immigration lawyer - did you find using one helpful for the procedure or for the knowledge, or for both?

Gimesalot: Unfortunately we don't have that kind of money. We plan to work a few years to know the local aspects of the trade, and gradually open a firm (it doesn't require much capital investment).

Leisured: We may need to check into that. Australia did sound great, and I remember hearing architects' salaries there are the highest in the world:) But at the time we probably thought it would be too far from family, as is there is much difference from NA...

Agreed, getting the degree in Canada will definitely be your best option. If I was considering this, I would just do the cheapest degree I can find, like a one-year Masters degree (or longer if more years studying in Canada = more immigration points, I don't know if that's the case though, would need to research) and then apply. To me, the immigration lawyer was useful for both the procedure and the knowledge, however I think more for the procedure really. Immigration stuff is kinda complicated and you deal with a lot of paper work in a country where you don't really know how the system really works. This may sound banal, but really, I have lived all over the world and am amazed how much you need to understand about a system in order to be able to operate effectively in it. So if I were you, I wouldn't scrimp on the lawyer, they'll make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

daverobev

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 11:10:17 AM »
I'm from the UK, now Canadian PR through marriage.

1. The cold will *kill* you. If Oz is much the same in terms of immig, go that route. Or NZ. Unless you're planning on going to Vancouver or something. Or you love skiing. It is humid and hot in Ontario, and f**king cold in the winter - this last winter especially.

2. If you do get in to Canada, you can visit the US for up to 6 months a year once you are a citizen, no questions asked, no visa, nothing. Obviously that doesn't help if you are working, but if you're lazy bums (I mean early retired) then it's ok.

3. If you do want to immigrate via points/getting a job - learn French. It won't help everywhere, but around Ottawa it could land you a job, and obviously would be a huge plus for immigrating to Quebec (QC has a different immig process than elsewhere, I believe).

But yeah, I cannot emphasize how much my mild temperature loving British self hates -20 degree mornings... Scraping off the car, shovelling a foot or two of snow. I thought I would get used to it, but - after coping for the first three years just fine, this last winter was a *bitch*.

That's not complainypants - just a real warning. Come and stay next winter. It's lovely... just not for 5 months straight!

Good luck, either way.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2014, 11:23:37 AM »
The whole system is totally broken and it's pretty impossible to get a Greencard unless you do it through family relationships. I have lived there for years and have many friends there who have PhDs (in like bioengineering and what not) and they all have been trying to get a Greencard for years and most of them left in the end because their visas ran out before they ever got a Greencard. H1B visas (the work visa you would normally get if you have a job there) are valid for up to 6 years (3 years initially, then extendable for another 3) and it's pretty difficult to get a Greencard in that timeframe. Also, you are often underpaid in the meantime...and of course you can't just quit your job and find a new one because, well, you need your current employer for your Greencard sponsorship. So in summary, in my opinion, forget the US until they do some real immigration reform.
^ This. Few companies who employ H1-B workers are willing to sponsor their GCs at the end of their 6 years because it's so expensive/time consuming and many employees just leave once they get their GC. Unless you have family already in the country or intend to marry a US citizen in your 6 year span, your options suck.

None of these issues have really been adressed by any of the immigration bills currently in Congress, mind you. I second the Canadian route. They love people with degrees, and bonus points if you can speak some French.

ch12

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 03:13:38 PM »
I'm from the UK, now Canadian PR through marriage.

1. The cold will *kill* you. If Oz is much the same in terms of immig, go that route. Or NZ. Unless you're planning on going to Vancouver or something. Or you love skiing. It is humid and hot in Ontario, and f**king cold in the winter - this last winter especially.

2. If you do get in to Canada, you can visit the US for up to 6 months a year [185 days per year] once you are a citizen, no questions asked, no visa, nothing. Obviously that doesn't help if you are working, but if you're lazy bums (I mean early retired) then it's ok.


In your situation, I'd live in the Canadian Southwest (what Americans think of as the Pacific Northwest) and snowbird down to warm parts of the US for the winter months, if you can figure out job flexibility like that once you've started your own architecture firm.

Getting a Canadian degree is a good idea, just to have the degree. It's also possible to get in through the start-up visa program, if you've got a business, although I don't know if architecture firms are the sort that they are really looking for. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/eligibility.asp

RetiredAt63

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2014, 06:24:22 PM »
I had to think about that one - it is not the Canadian Southwest (well, geographically it is, but . . . ), it is Lotus Land.

Hey, we are TOUGH, hear me? TOUGH - if you can survive our winters, you can survive anything.  We pride ourselves on this (and yes, this winter was a real old-fashioned one, we are back to discussing inviting the Turks and Caicos to join us so we have someplace to seek refuge in).  And we think Torontonians are wusses because they called out the army that time for a teeny bit of snow (in joke, sorry).  Historically, Ottawa was considered a hardship post in the diplomatic corps, its winter is worse than Moscow's. 

In a more serious vein, tuition for foreign students is charged at full cost.  Still generally cheaper than American universities.

In your situation, I'd live in the Canadian Southwest (what Americans think of as the Pacific Northwest) and snowbird down to warm parts of the US for the winter months, if you can figure out job flexibility like that once you've started your own architecture firm.

Getting a Canadian degree is a good idea, just to have the degree. It's also possible to get in through the start-up visa program, if you've got a business, although I don't know if architecture firms are the sort that they are really looking for. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/eligibility.asp

ch12

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2014, 08:09:53 PM »
I had to think about that one - it is not the Canadian Southwest (well, geographically it is, but . . . ), it is Lotus Land.

Hey, we are TOUGH, hear me? TOUGH - if you can survive our winters, you can survive anything.  We pride ourselves on this (and yes, this winter was a real old-fashioned one, we are back to discussing inviting the Turks and Caicos to join us so we have someplace to seek refuge in).  And we think Torontonians are wusses because they called out the army that time for a teeny bit of snow (in joke, sorry).  Historically, Ottawa was considered a hardship post in the diplomatic corps, its winter is worse than Moscow's. 

In your situation, I'd live in the Canadian Southwest (what Americans think of as the Pacific Northwest) and snowbird down to warm parts of the US for the winter months, if you can figure out job flexibility like that once you've started your own architecture firm.

I live in Wisconsin, which touches the Canadian border. I'm from Indiana. My family constantly teases me that I have moved to Canada, and that it is my own fault that I endure -19 F outside with horrible windchill taking it down to -41 (I was assured that it "wasn't a polar vortex"). I'm fairly certain that it's worse where you live, and I have no desire to actually empirically learn that. I am a massive pansy. All Canadians are winter-hardened into badasses.

Believe me, I'm running for Florida (or some other state) once I figure out FI and no longer need the job that brought me here.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 08:12:47 PM by ch12 »

libertarian4321

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2014, 03:32:47 AM »
My wife is an immigrant.  She says the US immigration system is a complete cluster f*ck- an incomprehensible bureaucratic nightmare.  She was able to navigate the system because she was well educated and well off financially- and even for her, it was challenging.  For those who aren't wealthy and well educated, it can be a nightmare.  The best way to get in, is to have family who are already here. 

I, for one, would love to see the USA welcome educated and successful immigrant with open arms.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2014, 05:34:52 AM »
If you are in Northern Wisconsin you are an honourary Canadian, weather-wise.  Southern, not so much  ;-)  -41F = -41 C, you got cold.  And Canadian meteorologists invented the wind-chill factor, wonder why  ;-)

Honourary Canadian = thinks nothing of getting winter tires (real heavy duty ones) on the car mid-November and only taking them off in late April.  Knows why we use snow tires (and no, it is not for snow).  Thinks driving on packed snow in residential areas is normal.  Knows to hose off the underside of the car in spring to get all the salt off (not if you are on the prairies, then you know it is too cold to bother with salt on the roads, it doesn't work).  Owns a long wide pure wool scarf for winding around the head so only the eyes show, for walking the dog.  Owns three snow shovels, all different, for different snow shoveling conditions.  Knows winter is coming when the snow blowers start showing up at Canadian Tire equivalent.  Knows spring has come when it is late May.  And inside - puts flannel sheets on the beds in November, still has them in use in May, digs out the flannelette pajamas in November, owns warm slippers, sweat shirts, wool sweaters, fingerless fine wool gloves, has contest with self and others to see how long they can put off starting the furnace in fall (see Yarn Harlot for this one, and she is in Toronto, which is the wuss capital of Canada, sorry non-wuss Torontonians), etc.

If anyone still wants to come here after all that, don't say I didn't warn you!  Or go to downtown Montreal, where you can use underground tunnels and never step foot outside if you don't want to.


I live in Wisconsin, which touches the Canadian border. I'm from Indiana. My family constantly teases me that I have moved to Canada, and that it is my own fault that I endure -19 F outside with horrible windchill taking it down to -41 (I was assured that it "wasn't a polar vortex"). I'm fairly certain that it's worse where you live, and I have no desire to actually empirically learn that. I am a massive pansy. All Canadians are winter-hardened into badasses.

Believe me, I'm running for Florida (or some other state) once I figure out FI and no longer need the job that brought me here.

m.b.

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2014, 11:03:27 AM »
Thanks for all the new comments.
It's all become much clearer now.

An important takeaway - not to aim for the US as an immigration destination, unless some really lucrative opportunity comes up...

I hope we'll cope with the climate. Our current destination is Toronto, harsh but at least it gets much worse elsewhere in Canada:)

Oz ot NZ might come up again in the future, but for now feel too far from family to consider as places to settle.

m.b.

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2015, 07:22:25 PM »
An update in case someone will be searching this thread:

- I enrolled in a (one year) Master's degree in a Toronto University.
- My wife got an open work permit for three years.
- Moved to Toronto, I started studies and my wife found a job.

- We planned to apply for permanent residency after I would graduate (you can do that if you graduate with a master's degree in Ontario, after living there for at least a year.
- Immigration rules changed in January 2015, and it became possible to apply for PR in a new "Express Entry" process that is no longer limited to specific occupations.
- We applied by this newly available route as soon as possible (but we had to wait to book an English test and have the results, and also have our degrees "certified"). At this system, you get a point grade and enter a pool; the government draws the x applicants with the highest grades from the pool about once a month.
- We got pulled after a few months. We had 60 days to supply documents to prove everything we claimed earlier.
- Got a final confirmation of PR after about half a year.

Some notes:
- Since the system changed, in hindsight it was not necessary for us to come for studies. I'm still happy we did that in spite of the tuition costs (about CAD $15,000 out of pocket after a significant scholarship) and the lost income, because we it allowed an earlier start and the degree helped (if we went to school now tuition would be much lower though).
- The Canadian immigration process might not be perfect but it is very transparent and straightforward; we did not use or even consult a lawyer for the applications.
- The immigration expenses were at least CAD $3,000 in direct fees for the applications, English tests, degree certifications etc. There were many additional smaller expenses mostly for translation and notarization. (that's for two).
- We had many additional expenses for thinks like driving tests and lessons; most significant but also very specific for us was about CAD $2,000 each for professional certification (not needed for working as employees, but we wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible).

Other observations:
- Toronto is an amazing place.
- Housing is expensive but less than in most comparable US cities, and significantly less than in W. Europe and Israel.
- The winter was fine. It is warm inside.

Please feel free to ask any questions.

Le Poisson

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2015, 07:35:29 PM »
I am so sorry I only saw this thread now. For others...

Consider a college program rather than university. For instance, your Degree as an Architect has complimentary program at Mohawk College. If you had moved to Hamilton (much lower cost of living) and gone to school at Mohawk (much lower cost to study) you would have graduated from a shorter program with a lesser degree, but with the ability to pass the Canadian Equivalency tests.

Regardless of all this, congrats on your move here. I hope you feel happy and comfortable.  I had an Israeli coworker at the engineering firm I used to be at and really enjoyed working with him.

m.b.

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2015, 04:29:01 PM »
Thanks Prospector! We really living in Canada and Toronto.

Just to clarify for others, I already had a professional bachelor's degree and did a masters. If you don't qualify for the Skilled Worker program (and we ourselves didn't before the rules were changed) and intend to be in Ontario, then the Ontario provincial nomination program for Ontario Masters graduates is probably the safest way. In anyway for immigration, academic credentials are very valuable; much more than they are for any practical reason.

We did want to live in Toronto in spite of the relatively high COL, both because of personal preferences and quite importantly because the income potential in our field is much higher (My wife is also an architect and was working during my studies). If these don't apply then for sure areas with lower COL are preferable.

Jack

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2015, 05:26:11 PM »
You should change the location in your forum profile. Congratulations(?) moving to the Frozen North!

Just out of curiosity, I see that immigration to the US is a huge clusterfuck, but is it equally hard coming from any country? For example, is it easier for Canadians? If so, could somebody immigrate to Canada, get citizenship (or whatever is required) there, and then immigrate again to the US?

Also, is it hard to immigrate to Europe (either the UK or the Schengen Area of the EU)?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2015, 05:53:04 PM »
You should change the location in your forum profile. Congratulations(?) moving to the Frozen North!

Just out of curiosity, I see that immigration to the US is a huge clusterfuck, but is it equally hard coming from any country? For example, is it easier for Canadians? If so, could somebody immigrate to Canada, get citizenship (or whatever is required) there, and then immigrate again to the US?

Also, is it hard to immigrate to Europe (either the UK or the Schengen Area of the EU)?

My friend came to Canada from Austria for school. Stayed to work got PR and then CDN citizenship. Moved to SoCal on a temporary worker VISA [TN?] as she is an engineer. Did that for 3yrs got married to an American. Not sure if she's a full citizen yet or just a PR in the US, but she'll get there eventually.

hope2retire

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2015, 07:07:39 PM »
Multiple routes...What is your country of Birth? I assume it is Israel(then it is easier than that said above by good life)

1. Method 1: Student in University(with some scholarships from school or self funded or do on-campus jobs to support or a combination of all three) --> get student EAD card valid for a year, in which you have to get a job within 3 months or so after the EAD card --> then after your EAD expires, employer applies for H1B (max time on this is 6yrs). Within the first few years, you can ask the company to apply for GC (depending on the category EB3 or EB2 which ever your resume/work profile qualifies for) you will get is faster (2-3yrs max assuming employer does everything, your trump card is COUNTRY OF BIRTH)
2. Method 2: Cut the student part of it. Directly get a job. Employer applies for H1 and then follow as above.
3. Method 3: If you can invest 500k to 1Million in a underserved area and employ people and have a business then you can get it soon (does not matter which country of birth)
4. method 4: Lottery as mentioned above.

Note: i have gone through the so called broken system with route 1. PhD yada yada from one of the worst back logged countries. But, it is one of the fairest system i have seen. the reason I say this is, i have analysed their data, their logic for so many years and there is no other way to optimize than the current one, when you put diversity as the key. Unfortunately, it has limitations due to extreme, extreme demand from the back logged countries.  The only problem I see they have is that there is no real way to authenticate some information and determine the bad apples in the amount of applications they receive, and the data is not something that can be tied down to an ssn. example validity of a degree certificate/work experience from another country. etc....

Goodluck
h2r
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 07:11:24 PM by hope2retire »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2015, 07:20:02 PM »
Just out of curiosity, I see that immigration to the US is a huge clusterfuck, but is it equally hard coming from any country? For example, is it easier for Canadians? If so, could somebody immigrate to Canada, get citizenship (or whatever is required) there, and then immigrate again to the US?
There are very few select countries with special visas available to them. Canada being one of them. The rest of us schmucks from other first world countries get treated the same as everyone else on the job visa market, no gentlemen's understanding there. It's full cavity search and humiliating wait times whether you were born in the slums of Bangalore or at your parents' penthouse in Mayfair.

Getting permanent residency in Canada and then getting to the US works if the H-1B lottery doesn't pan out, lots of people have done it, and it was my personal backup strategy when I threw my name in the hat. Canada has a very rational immigration points system which makes it easier to immigrate for people with skills and a few other factors (major bonus points if you speak English AND French).

Also, is it hard to immigrate to Europe (either the UK or the Schengen Area of the EU)?
As an American? Relatively easy if you have a job offer, for most countries. Obviously each individual country has its own laws.

Cathy

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2015, 09:10:28 PM »
There are very few select countries with special visas available to them. Canada being one of them. ... Getting permanent residency in Canada and then getting to the US works ...

The US nonimmigrant status commonly referred to as "TN status" is authorised by 214(e)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 USC 1184(e)(2), as amended by 341(b) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, PL 103-182, 107 Stat 2057, 2116 (December 8, 1993). This status is available only to "[a]n alien who is a citizen of Canada or Mexico". Id. Canadian permanent residency is not sufficient to avail oneself of this status.

The term "TN" is not used in the statute, but rather comes from the regulations, including 8 CFR 214.6(d).

In US immigration law, the term "visa" refers to a document, typically placed inside a person's passport, which authorises that person to travel to a port of entry and seek entry into the United States. A visa does not entitle the holder to enter the US, nor does it entitle the holder to any particular status within the US if granted entry. 8 USC 1201(h). For most foreign nationals, possession of a visa is a necessary but not sufficient condition to enter the US. 8 USC 1181(a). However, "[a] visa is generally not required for Canadian citizens", subject to certain exceptions. 8 CFR 212.1(a)(1). In particular, most Canadians do not require a visa to enter the US in TN status. 8 CFR 214.6(d)(2). By contrast, citizens of Mexico typically do require a visa to enter the US in TN status. 8 CFR 214.6(d)(1).
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 09:21:11 PM by Cathy »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2015, 09:23:02 PM »
There are very few select countries with special visas available to them. Canada being one of them. ... Getting permanent residency in Canada and then getting to the US works ...

The US nonimmigrant status commonly referred to as "TN status" is authorised by 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 USC 1184(e)(2), as amended by 341(b) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, PL 103-182, 107 Stat 2057, 2116 (December 8, 1993). This status is available only to "[a]n alien who is a citizen of Canada or Mexico". Id. Canadian permanent residency is not sufficient to avail oneself of this status.

The term "TN" is not used in the statute, but rather comes from the regulations, including 8 CFR 214.6(d).
Yup, forgot that getting canadian citizenship is necessary if you go that route. Of course that lengthens the process quite a bit (5-6 years total IIRC), and still shorter than waiting in line for a immigrant visa number from USCIS if you're from a severely backlogged country.

Cathy

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2015, 09:39:46 PM »
Yup, forgot that getting canadian citizenship is necessary if you go that route. Of course that lengthens the process quite a bit (5-6 years total IIRC), and still shorter than waiting in line for a immigrant visa number from USCIS if you're from a severely backlogged country.

Allocation of immigrant visa numbers is not based on present citizenship, but rather on the "foreign state" of which the person is a "native[]". 8 USC 1152(a)(2). This is generally "determined by birth within such foreign state", subject to some exceptions. 8 USC 1152(b).

Goldielocks

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2015, 12:11:37 AM »
You should change the location in your forum profile. Congratulations(?) moving to the Frozen North!

Just out of curiosity, I see that immigration to the US is a huge clusterfuck, but is it equally hard coming from any country? For example, is it easier for Canadians? If so, could somebody immigrate to Canada, get citizenship (or whatever is required) there, and then immigrate again to the US?

Also, is it hard to immigrate to Europe (either the UK or the Schengen Area of the EU)?

Well, I gave up after 3 yrs working in the USA on a management transfer visa, (L1A) guaranteed employment, professional engineer with US EIT status to boot.  It was going to take another 3 to 5 years before GC, and needed to be tied to only one employer and potentially told to move on short notice in the meantime.  Oh, and higher taxes on immigrants than residents, too.

So no, CDN status did not help.  Not even my 'preferred' visa status helped.( vs an H1B).


Le Poisson

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2015, 05:03:07 AM »
Can I step back for a second and say that I just love when Cathy swoops in with her legalese and lays things out plain as daylight. I love that. Except for when I can't translate it or catch the nuances, but the rest of the time (like in this thread) I just love it.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2015, 11:11:19 AM »
Just out of curiosity, I see that immigration to the US is a huge clusterfuck, but is it equally hard coming from any country? For example, is it easier for Canadians? If so, could somebody immigrate to Canada, get citizenship (or whatever is required) there, and then immigrate again to the US?

The main advantage for Canadian and Mexican citizens who want to work in the US is TN status, created under NAFTA for specific "professional" jobs.

For a Canadian citizen who has a qualifying job offer, it could be as simple as driving to the border (or airport) with your offer letter and degree, getting approved on the spot for three years, and then continuing on to your new job and home in the US.
TN status avoids a lot of the head-aches of the H1B system: application procedure, specific deadlines, cap on number of visas & associated lottery.

TN status is non-immigrant. However, you can transition from TN status to Green Card (permanent residency). You have to make sure you do your paperwork and filling correctly to avoid getting in trouble by showing immigration intent while in non-immigrant status.

A popular option is to start with a TN, then change to an H1B later. If something goes wrong such as not getting a spot in the H1B lottery, you still have the TN as a fall back. With the H1B you can then apply for a green card as it allows dual intent (non-immigrant status while showing immigration intent). I don't think changing to the H1B is that great an idea, but you find company affiliated immigration lawyers who seem to recommend it, but I think the only reason for that is they are more familiar working with H1B cases as opposed to TN. The other recent change is that if you are on H1B, your spouse can now work in the US. If you are in TN status, your spouse does not get the ability to work in the US simply by being married to you.

When applying for the Green Card, it becomes your country of birth that determines how long you have to wait. If you are a Canadian Citizen but were born in an over-subscribed country (Mexico, India, China, others?) you might end up waiting a while for the Green Card.
(I think there is a provision here where you can use the Citizenship of your spouse if applicable to get around that wait, but I could be recalling this wrong, someone hopefully can correct or fill in the details.)

I'm a Canadian Citizen, not born in an over subscribed country, and went the TN --> H1B --> Green Card route. I had a Green Card a bit less then two years after starting my US job, and most of that wait was not related to the Green Card application specifics. That route (minus the TN) would also be available to non Canadians/Mexicans. So if you are lucky, the stars align, you are determined, and don't mind the drudgery of the US immigration system, you can come out ok through the cluster fuck.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:07:06 PM by CanuckExpat »

daverobev

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2015, 08:30:43 AM »
Holy... shit.

Um. Can you just check my logic.

I have a BSc in Chemistry. I'm likely soon to become a Canadian citizen. Are you saying that, because on the list of NAFTA professions, there is

Chemist    Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree

I can just walk up to the US as a Canadian citizen and get a visa to allow me to work for 3 years?! Do you have to get a job in a relevant field?

For example also listed is Computer Systems Analyst. Can, with my years of experience doing stuff with computers (programming), but no certification, get a TN as a chemist, but work as a programmer? Even self employed, perhaps?

*Edit* ok did some skim reading - nope, nope, and nope. Heh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TN_status

Must have a job offer, not self employed.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 09:12:43 AM by daverobev »

Goldielocks

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2015, 10:43:09 PM »
Not nearly so easy...

1..  need an employer in US.  They must provide a letter with the job / task description.  (does not need to be a full time employer, but must state start and end date truthfully, so if it is a 6 month contract, you won't get a TN for three years, to my knowledge.
2.  Get application, degree credentials in order, money, and a description of the services you are providing to your  new employer
3.  Your application services description must NOT be vague, must show your experience and credentials that line up with the job description.   not one thing on the job description is allowed to be loosely defined and overlap a non-accepted task on the TN.  (e.g., business consulting with an MBA is a NO, even if you are coming through as a specialist accountant, Chemist, may be a yes, but for specific CHEMIST ONLY work)

When in the us, you can NOT work at tasks not described on the application, and you can NOT work for another employer not stated.


I definitely think that they do not approve all the applicants straight off, given the intense scrutiny my documents produced and the secondary interviews and two hours of processing / interviewing I went through.   

« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 10:45:04 PM by goldielocks »

CanuckExpat

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2015, 12:29:18 PM »
I can just walk up to the US as a Canadian citizen and get a visa to allow me to work for 3 years?! Do you have to get a job in a relevant field?
...
*Edit* ok did some skim reading - nope, nope, and nope. Heh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TN_status

Must have a job offer, not self employed.

You are right, the path I described assumes you have a job offer from a US firm for a profession on the TN list. As Goldilocks mentioned, there can be different levels of scrutiny to see if you and the job meet the requirements.

If you want a visa that allows you to live and work in the US but don't have a job offer, there are at least two categories of employment based (EB) immigration that I am familiar with that would qualify for "self-sponsorship", i.e. not require an employment offer or labor certification:

There is a more involved application procedure for the above compared to a TN, and the acceptance rate is probably lower. The above are open to citizens of any country, not just NAFTA countries, and gives you permanent residency (green card) as a result.
In addition if you are born in a country that is over subscribed for greencards, going the EB1 route means you can skip the very long wait times.

If you don't care about getting a greencard, there are non-immigrant categories that allow self-sponsorship such as the O-1 visa which I think can also be used for entrepreneurship. I'm not familiar with the criteria or process in general for an O1 but thought I'd list it as an option if it was helpful for anyone reading.

astvilla

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2015, 01:44:05 PM »
I guess another unorthodox way is marriage (mentioned earlier).

I think military service is an option too.  I don't know how it works, perhaps someone could clarify.  Can any non-citizen sign up for the military to obtain citizenship?

Or you could just do what millions of others do and that's come/stay illegally.  These days, if you throw enough of a tantrum and cause enough of a headache and drain on social services, they let you stay and don't bother you. To ease their headache and yours, they'll just hand the citizenship over.  They're doing that for millions of people from South and Central America.  That could possibly work and it can be quicker than the legal routes.  Not that it's easy. 

I'm not supporting law breaking but those are options. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Immigration routes to North America
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2015, 02:41:33 PM »
I guess another unorthodox way is marriage (mentioned earlier).

I think military service is an option too.  I don't know how it works, perhaps someone could clarify.  Can any non-citizen sign up for the military to obtain citizenship?

Or you could just do what millions of others do and that's come/stay illegally.  These days, if you throw enough of a tantrum and cause enough of a headache and drain on social services, they let you stay and don't bother you. To ease their headache and yours, they'll just hand the citizenship over.  They're doing that for millions of people from South and Central America.  That could possibly work and it can be quicker than the legal routes.  Not that it's easy. 

I'm not supporting law breaking but those are options.

I don't know about the citizenship part, but if you are not a permanent resident, but allowed to work in the USA, you are allowed to join the army.  You are limited to very junior roles, such as peeling potatoes and marching.