- Work Visa and Permanent Visa Options in Canada
- Hints for Work Visa / Immigration Visa Documentations
- Ask An Immigration Attorney
WORK VISA OPTIONS:
Temporary Work Visa:
For many people entering the workforce, this is the visa of choice. One benefit is that it can often be obtained in a very short time. To oversimplify the requirements, an TW visa can be applied for if you have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher, and the position in which you will work requires at least a four-year degree. The general requirements for the TW visa are set forth on the CIC website. These visas used to be easy to obtain; nowadays nothing is easy to obtain from the CIC ( Canada Immigration). This firm is familiar with all aspects of applying for TW visas, including ensuring that the job description meets the TW visa requirements, the prevailing wage is properly met, and the applicant meets the legal requirements. We also set it up to lay a foundation for a later permanent visa, should you want one. TW visas can be issued for up to two years at a time, to a maximum of three years. Many people use that three years to obtain Canadian permanent residency, and the TW (Temporary Work Visa) is a good platform from which to do so.
Another benefit of the TW visa, at least for university teaching positions, is that in some instances the same job, even the same advertising campaign and search committee process, can be the basis for both a successful TW application and a permanent resident visa application. This is explained more fully under some universities Faculty and should be carefully examined, so that a great opportunity is not lost.
Visa Waiver for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability:
For some, another work visa option is the Visa for Foreign People of Extraordinary Ability. This visa category is available to those whose accomplishments are truly outstanding, as shown by a higher level of accomplishment than their peers in such areas as the quality and number of their publications and the prestige of the journals in which they are published, the number and importance of reviews the applicant has performed on the work of others, the amount of salary, receipt of prominent awards, presentations at prestigious colloquia, membership in prestigious organizations, articles about the applicant, and major contributions made by the applicant in his or her field of endeavor, among others. Extensive documentation must be provided, to prove a level of sustained national, and sometimes international, acclaim.
This visa requires a lot more than merely submitting a copy of one’s C.V. and a few letters from colleagues stating that the individual is of high caliber. For an example of how difficult these applications can be, check these administrative decisions that show the grounds for rejection, even of very highly accomplished individuals. Our linked law firm stays abreast of the requirements for successful WV visa applications, and understands how to “package” one’s accomplishments in a way that is palatable to the immigration authorities. One benefit of the WV visa category is that successful applicants will have laid a good foundation for a permanent visa based, for instance an Outstanding Professor or Researcher application, or an Extraordinary Ability Application.
Certain professionals from U.S. and Mexico qualify for TN or “Treaty NAFTA” visas, valid for one year, renewable for as long as the individual continues to qualify. To oversimplify, the visa is issued to those with at least a Bachelor’s degree, in a position that requires a Bachelor’s degree. It cannot be used for self-employment. One qualification is that the individual must maintain a residence in, and must prove an intent to return to, his or her homeland in U.S. or Mexico. Filing an application for AEO Certification, or for Permanent Residence demonstrates an intention to remain in Canada, and can lead to prompt termination of TN status. For U.S., TN visas are faster and easier to obtain than SW visas and are often useful as intermediate visas; for Mexicans they are almost as difficult as SW visas to obtain and often, but not always, are not worth the trouble.
International Treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), or the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
Employment Opinion (AEO) Certification
Canada Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) to CIC factors into the assessment of a Skilled Worker application for Permanent Residency that no qualified Canadian wants the job that you want as the basis for your permanent visa. AEO is not required for TW, Business Class, or Religious nonimmigrant visas. AEO for professionals is only required if you are seeking a Permanent Resident Visa (“Resident Card”). AEO cetification is a complex process. AEO requires the full cooperation of your employer; the application must be filed by an employer who wants to hire you on a permanent basis. The employer must engage in a campaign of advertising that is designed to locate qualified Canadian workers; if no qualified, willing and able Canadian workers apply; and if the job requirements set forth in the ad are not unfair to Canadian. workers (citizens and resident card holders); and if the salary is in keeping with the level of the work; and other requirements are met; the HRSDC issues a AEO. With this, and proof that you meet the qualifications for the job, you can apply for permanent residency. The rules for advertising for AEO certification are complicated and they vary, depending on which of the three approaches is used: Regular AEO Certification, Reduction in Recruitment, or Special Handling AEO Certification. They also vary province-by-province and by regions within Canada. These rules are about to undergo extensive reworking when Canada HRSDC promulgates “WORK” regulations, after 2003. If you can apply prior to that time, it may be more beneficial, particularly for college faculty positions.
AEO for College, university Faculty or Research Associates:
For those of you who obtain a full-time position at a high institution either a college or an university, whether a research position or a teaching position, that involves teaching at least one college level class, you may qualify for the fastest AEO Certification process, “Special Handling”. For others, you may qualify for the second-fastest, “Reduction in Recruitment”. If you presently have an TW visa, you should promptly determine whether your present position may also qualify you for a AEO certificate, for two important reasons. First, there are strict time limits within which your application must be filed, for Reduction in Recruitment 6 months, for Special Handling positions 18 months. Second, the WORK regulations will eliminate the special handling program for college faculty. The point is – don’t delay in finding out if your newly-acquired job, or the job you got 17 months ago on a temporary visa, might also be the basis for your permanent residency.
Permanent Visa without AEO Certification:
There are three ways of obtaining permanent residency without having to first offer the position to a Canadian worker – and all three depend on proving that you are such a desirable individual, that the government should not require you to do so.
Outstanding Researchers and Professors and Applicants of Extraordinary Ability:
As a broad, general observation, the requirements for these categories are the same as for the Special visa. In actual practice, the degree of “outstanding” or “extraordinary” caliber you need to prove for a nonimmigrant (i.e. temporary) Special visa, is lower than for the issuance of permanent residency under these similarly-worded programs. Also, you must be in a tenured or tenure-track position.
National Interest Waivers:
In addition to meeting similar requirements for the categories immediately above, National Interest Waivers may be issued to individuals who have ten years of experience in their field, whose work benefits Canada, whose work has substantial intrinsic merit, and who can demonstrate that Canada would be adversely affected if a AEO certification were required. These are difficult to obtain, but under the right circumstances are a viable option.
Some TW visa holders are required to return to their homeland for two years before being allowed to change to another visa status. One avenue worth considering is a waiver of this two-year return requirement.
Which path is for me?
It is very hard to generalize about your options under Canada immigration law, because there are so many variables: One variable is your present visa status. If your international student visa is about to run out, the lack of time may limit your options, requiring you to seek a visa that is quick to obtain, and applying for residency later on. If your on a tourist or business visa and is about to run out, before you can change visa status it may be advisable to verify whether you are bound by the two year return requirement by asking for an Advisory Opinion from an attorney before approaching CIC.
Another variable is the willingness of your employer to file an application for your permanent resident visa. Very often, employers want to have you work for them for a while on TW or internship (“TW“) or an Work Visa (WV) before they will agree to sponsor you for a permanent position. Another variable is what part of the country you will be working in, because this determines which Immigration center will adjudicate your petition, and the processing times vary widely at these Canadian Centers.
If you qualify for TW or W internship, you have one year during which to position yourself for your next work visa. Some of you will be able to go directly from a student visa to a permanent visa (“resident card”). You are more likely to require an intermediate visa between your student visa and your permanent visa, such as an TW visa or SK visa.
SK visas are taking two to seven months to process, depending on where you will be working in Canada, and thus which of the Service Centers will handle your application. If you pay an extra and file a form , the immigration authorities will process your case in two weeks. Business Class visas can also receive this accelerated treatment.
If you are in International student status on TW, you must receive your SW change of status approval notice prior to the last day of validity of your TW document, or you will have to stop working until you receive it. (Or you can file for Premium Processing and pay an extra to accelerate the process and get a result in under two weeks).
The information herein is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances, nor should this information be construed as legal advice. For an evaluation about your case, please consult with an immigration attorney.