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Canadians working in the U.S. and Obtaining a TN Visa

By Glenn Letham (August, 2000)

This article is designed to help U.S. based employers hire Canadians on a TN-1 Visa in accordance with the existing NAFTA agreement
The demand for skilled geographers and GIS professionals is steadily growing. Couple with this a booming U.S. economy and a contrasting dismal economy north of the 49th. parallel (particularly in B.C. where I came from) and the result is a demand for skilled Canadian employees by eager, employee hungry U.S employers. The companies have a corresponding demand for young, skilled Canadians to take their skills and jump across the border to the land of opportunity. A simple, hassle free method of hiring Canadian citizens for employment based in the U.S is by petitioning potential employees for a NAFTA or TN Visa. This article offers up some practical experience, and advice for employers and employees seeking to obtain a TN Visa.

As a Canadian currently living and working in the U.S, I have the luxury of being well versed and experienced at securing the popular TN Visa. In a nutshell, the TN Visa is a permit that enables Canadian, Americans, and Mexicans to secure certain jobs and cross the border or move temporarily across the border with relative ease. For most positions, a bachelors degree and/or several years of related work experience is required. For the purpose of this discussion, this discussion is focussed on Canadians working in the US on a TN Visa. I am currently on my second TN and have decided to share my experiences in order to hopefully save employers and employees some hassles.

Employers thinking of hiring "eligible" individuals from Canada or Mexico can expect relatively few problems getting TN applications approved. There may be some problems when seeking employees in "Computing" or programming positions. Some computer focussed positions may not be eligible under the terms of NAFTA and thus, an H1 Visa would be an appropriate alternative (discussions on the H1 Visa are beyond the scope of this article). The H1 Visa was designed with high-tech professionals in mind, however, it is more difficult to obtain and there is a cap on the number of H1's issued each calendar year. Proceed Here for a detailed description of the H1 Visa.

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