Author: Melissa Babel, Certified Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law and a Foreign Legal Consultant, Babel Immigration Law
When a Canadian business is ready to expand, they often look first to our closest trading partner and neighbour to the south – the United States. But how does a Canadian business owner make their expansion plans a reality? Once the business plan and financing are in place, the next issue is consistently securing talent. A corporate immigration strategy is the key to success in the short, medium, and long term.
The L1 – Intra-Company Transfers
The L1 visa allows for intra-corporate transfers of key employees to a U.S. company from foreign affiliates or subsidiaries as non-immigrants (workers). This work permit is the ‘bread and butter’ of corporate immigration, and it gives significant flexibility to employers who want to bring in their people to work in the business. For a Canadian company expanding into the United States, the L1 visa can facilitate the entry of executives and senior managers who are setting up a new entity. Once established, it can also transfer key specialized knowledge workers for up to 5 years (7 years for Executives and Senior Managers).
The E1 and E2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visa
The E1 (Treaty Trader) allows a Canadian citizen conducting a significant amount of trade between Canada and the United States to request non-immigrant status in the U.S. This is a flexible category for businesses with a history of substantial work with the U.S. because, notably, there is no minimum investment of capital required to qualify for this category. The E2 (Treaty Investor) allows a Canadian to apply for non-immigrant status in the U.S. where there is a ‘substantial investment’ of capital in a U.S. business. Expanding companies who are making investments of capital will find the E2 to be of particular interest.
The TN – for Professionals
The TN NAFTA/CUSMA Professional work permit is a vital component in the toolbox of any Canadian business looking to expand into the U.S. and bring in their highly skilled Canadian talent. Once a U.S. business is in place, the U.S. employer can support a TN work permit by offering pre-arranged employment in a professional position to a Canadian or Mexican citizen. Examples of TN professionals include Accountants, Computer Systems Analysts, Graphic Designers, Engineers, Hotel Managers, Lawyers, Management Consultants, and a host of Medical Professionals, Scientists, and other technical specialists. For the most part, the professional will require post-secondary education in their profession and some work experience. The TN is an essential tool for hiring Canadian and Mexican professionals to work in the U.S.
If you have questions about how to secure your key talent to make your expansion into the U.S. success, we would love to help!