Need a Work Visa in Canada or in the US?

Identifying the right type of work permit among the many programs available is highly sensitive. It requires a careful examination of your needs to ensure compliance with US or Canadian immigration law while also finding a solution that will meet your objectives and timetable. With the help of our immigration professionals, we can identify the best work permit option for you and your business.

Canada Work Permits

Are you an entrepreneur, or an employee looking to work for a Canadian employer? Well, if you’re not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you need to apply for a closed or open work permit. Similarly, if you’re visiting Canada for business purposes, you’ll need to obtain a business visitor visa.

Identifying the right type of work permit or visa is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Getting a work visa in Canada as a temporary or permanent resident requires a careful examination of your circumstances to ensure compliance with Canadian law, while finding the smoothest solution available to you.

Like with any important business move, it is important to have a good plan. And like with business, finding the right partners and advisors is often an important part of the solution.

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LMIA based Regular Process

By default, the submission of an application for a work permit must be accompanied by the result of a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is a document whose objective is to show that no Canadians are available to fill said employment position. In most cases, the Canadian employer may need to obtain an LMIA before hiring a foreign worker, unless an exemption is applicable. We outline below the most common LMIA exemptions.

A positive LMIA confirms the need for an employer to hire a foreign worker to do the job. It also states that no Canadian worker is available. A favorable LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

However, some permits are exempt from this long and costly process. When evaluating options for a potential client, it is important to assess whether the prospect would qualify for an exemption.

C-12 Intra-Company

This type of visa allows executives, managers, or specialized employees to work from one of its affiliated foreing office to an existing or new office in Canada. 

Requirements
  • Having a qualified relationship with the foreign company as a subsidiary, parent, affiliate, or branch office;
  • The company will be or is currently doing business as an employer in Canada;
  • The employee, which can include business owners, must have worked for the foreign company outside Canada for at least one year out of the last three years.
Advantages
  • No annual quota;
  • No requirement on age, language capabilities or education;
  • Available for business owners;
  • Spouse and children under 22 years of age can follow the worker;
  • Can be renewed up to 7 years for executive and managers and up to 5 years for a specialized worker.

C-11 Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed

This type of visa allows entrepreneurs to come to Canada to start and operate a business.

Requirements
  • The applicant must own at least 50% of the business;
  • The business must be viable and of a significant benefit for Canada;
  • The applicant must have taken concrete steps to put his business plan into action.
Advantages
  • No minimum investment required;
  • Available for start-ups;
  • No requirement on age, education or language capabilities;
  • Available for all countries;
  • Can be renewed indefinitely;
  • Applicant’s partner and unmarried children under 22 years old may also receive work or study visas.
Questions to consider
  • Is the work likely to create a viable business that will benefit Canadian workers or permanent residents or stimulate the economy?
  • Does the applicant have specific skills or backgrounds that will improve the viability of the business?
  • Is there a business plan that clearly shows that the applicant has taken steps to start his business?
  • Did the applicant take steps to implement his business plan (proof of his financial capacity to start a business and pay for expenses, renting premises, staffing plan, obtaining a business number? company, presentation of documents / ownership agreements, etc.)?

C-10 Canadian interests

This type of work permit is issued to the persons who will bring a social or cultural benefit to Canada. It is usually granted to persons who are crucial to a high-profile event and when circumstances have created an urgency to their entry.  It can also be granted based on the economic benefit to Canada when the foreing national shows that he or she will bring a notable contribution to the Canadian economy.

The foreing national must provide testimony of credible, trustworthy, and distinguished experts evidence showing he/she is a leader in their field. The foreign national’s past record is a good indicator of their level of achievement and it should be strong and distinguished.

C-16 Mobilité Francophone Program

The Mobilité Francophone Program category under the Canadian International Mobility Program (IMP) aims to facilitate the hiring of francophone skilled workers who want to work outside the Province of Québec. It allows employers to hire foreign workers without obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Employers therefore do not have to demonstrate efforts to recruit or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents prior to hiring a foreign national under this category.

Requirements
  • The applicant will live and work outside the province of Québec;
  • The applicant has an offer of employment for a skilled position before the work permit application is made (Levels O, A or B of the National Occupational Classification);
  • The applicant is qualified to work in managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades occupations (Levels O, A or B of the National Occupational Classification);
  • The applicant’s habitual language of daily use is French (note that the language of work does not have to be French)*.
Advantages
  • Much faster processing time than the regular LMIA process;
  • No restrictions based on the worker’s nationality or age;
  • The offer of employment does not have to require French language ability under the job description;
  • The $1,000 LMIA application fee is not required;
  • Work permit can be issued for the duration of the offer of employment (or until the expiry of the travel document or biometrics, whichever comes earlier);
  • Spouses and common-law partners are eligible for an open-work permit;
  • Dependants are eligible for an open study permit if the principal applicant has obtained his or her initial work permit in writing before entering Canada.

* Where the officer is not satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language is French, the officer may request an interview or ask the foreign national to provide language results demonstrating an advanced intermediate or higher level in French. For this purpose, applicants should demonstrate that they have obtained a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) of level 7 or higher in the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) or Test de connaissance du français (TCF).

C-41 Spouses and common law partners

Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers who come to Canada as foreign workers may be allowed to work without first obtaining an offer of employment. A dependent spouse may apply for an open work permit if the foreign primary worker:

  • Holds a valid work permit for a period of at least six months or, if he holds a job under article R186 without a work permit, presents proof that he will work for a minimum of six months;
  • Occupies a job corresponding to Skill Level 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) (which generally includes management and professional occupations, as well as technical and skilled occupations);
  • Actually reside or plan to reside in Canada while in employment.

C-43 Post-graduation work permit

A person who has obtained a diploma from a designated learning institution and wishes to remain in Canada temporarily to work may, if he meets certain conditions, be entitled to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

All designated learning institutions (DLI) do not qualify for the PGWP.

The possibility of obtaining a work permit and the period of validity of the post-graduation work permit depends on the nature and duration of the graduate’s degree program.

TN North American Agreement

Created under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the TN nonimmigrant visa offers temporary authorization for eligible citizens of the US and Mexico to work in Canada. To qualify, one must have a full-time or part-time job offer with an eligible Canada employer for a position requiring a NAFTA professional.

The visa is initially issued to temporary foreign workers for a period of up to three years and extendible for further periods of up to three years with no maximum limit on number of extensions.

Our firm will help you through the entire TN application process including careful evaluation of all relevant points like whether you are a NAFTA profession, your eligibility to practice the same in Canada, along with your employer’s eligibility to hire a NAFTA professional.

The authorities must be satisfied the condition of the position requiring a NAFTA professional has been fulfilled. Further, the entry procedure and requirement of applying for this visa in advance may vary depending on your nationality.

IEC International Experience Canada

IEC is a program designed to allow youth the opportunity to work in Canada for temporary periods.

Citizens of countries with a bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement with Canada who are between the ages of 18 and 35 may be eligible for IEC work permits.

*Citizens can participate in special IEC student summer job initiatives exclusive to their country.

Participants in the Working Holiday program can receive an open work permit, valid for one or two years.

Individuals who already have a job offer can apply to the Young Professionals category and will be granted an employer-specific work permit.

Citizens of participating countries who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship can spend a period of time interning for Canadian companies with an employer-specific work permit in the Co-op internship program.

Global Talent Stream

A fast track for high skilled workers

In 2017 the Canadian government created the Global Talent Stream in order to allow certain high skilled workers to obtain a work permit in as fast as (2) two weeks for visa-exempt nationals.

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USA Work Permits

In today’s global market, international mobility solutions are key to your business’ success.

Whether you are an American or international company seeking to hire foreign talent or transfer executives to an existing U.S. branch or plan to establish one, we can facilitate the process for you.

If you are an employee and wish to work for an American employer or if you plan to engage in trade or invest in the US, we can assist you in obtaining the right work permit.

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H-1B Highly-skilled occupations

The US H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa offering up to a three-year work authorization (extendible for another three years) for three categories of workers.

  • Specialty occupations workers
  • Employed in an eligible Department of Defense cooperative R&D project
  • Fashion models of prominence.

This visa has a strict annual cap with exemptions available for specific categories of highly-skilled occupations requiring advanced educational qualifications. Applying for a H-1B visa is an extremely complicated process requiring careful assessment of various factors including:

  • Whether your occupation is a specialty occupation?
  • Whether you qualify for the Labor Condition Application?
  • Whether your job offer complies with requirements related to wages and working conditions?

Our team is fully equipped to assist you through the entire process from the initial application till final approval, including submissions related to Requests for Evidence, if any, raised by the immigration authorities.

It is a good path towards applying for U.S. permanent residency.

TN North American Free Trade Agreement

Created under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the TN nonimmigrant visa offers temporary authorization for eligible citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the US. To qualify, one must have a full-time or part-time job offer with an eligible US employer for a position requiring a NAFTA professional.

The visa is initially issued to temporary foreign workers for a period of up to three years and extendible for further periods of up to three years with no maximum limit on number of extensions.

Our firm will help you through the entire TN application process including careful evaluation of all relevant points like whether you are a NAFTA profession, your eligibility to practice the same in the US, along with your employer’s eligibility to hire a NAFTA professional.

The authorities must be satisfied the condition of the position requiring a NAFTA professional has been fulfilled. Further, the entry procedure and requirement of applying for this visa in advance may vary depending on your nationality.

L1 Intra-Company

The L1 visa is a nonimmigrant (i.e. temporary) work authorization that allows executives, managers, or specialized employees of a non-U.S. company to work for the U.S. affiliate or branch of that company.

It is a good path towards applying for U.S. permanent residency

Finding the right strategy between various visas and possible paths to permanent residency are extremely important and sensitive under U.S. law. Reach out to our team to find out which options are best for you and your business.

E-1 Treaty trader

The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is a nonimmigrant trader visa available to citizens of countries that signed a treaty of commerce with the US and conduct substantial trade between the two countries.

This visa authorizes the owner of a non-U.S. company that trades with the U.S., or its eligible employees, to live and work in the US to engage in international trade on behalf of the foreign company. The foreign company must carry on substantial and principal trade between the US and the treaty country of nationality of the treaty trader.

Please contact our team to find out more about the eligibility requirements of the E-1 visa. Our experienced attorneys will be able to provide you more details on the sensitive requirements of the visa, including the notion of substantial and principal trade as applied to your industry. We will help you identify the best U.S. visa for you and your business.

E-2 Investor

The E-2 Treaty Investors visa is a nonimmigrant investor visa available to citizens of countries that signed a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. and have made a substantial investment of their personal funds in a U.S. company.

This visa authorizes the investor or eligible employees to live and work in the U.S. in order to develop and direct a business. The investor must substantially contribute at-risk capital to the business by retaining either 50% ownership or operational control.

While it can be renewed indefinitely, the E-2 visa can also be a stepping stone for permanent residence in the U.S.

Please contact our team to find out more about the eligibility requirements of the E-2 visa. Our experienced attorneys will be able to provide you more details on the sensitive requirements of the visa, including the notion of substantial investment as applied to your industry. We can also assist you in weighing this option in the context of a possible EB-5 green card application. We will help you identify the best U.S. investor visa for you and your business.

O-1 Extraordinary ability

The O-1 visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim.
Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is at the very top of their field.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means high level of achievement and distinction to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate that he or she is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

An O-1 visa is initially granted for up to three years. Subsequently, it can be extended for one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted.

Proving that your extraordinary ability meets the requirements for an O-1 visa is a very complex process. Unlike other nonimmigrant visas a job offer is not necessarily required if alternative proof of professional engagements is provided. Our expertise in the field places us in a unique position to assess your eligibility and minimize the risk of rejection or procedural delays.

Please contact our team to find out whether this program is an option for you.

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