Many of us have seen sudden refusals by U.S. border officers to process renewals of L-1A (intracompany cross border transfers of key employees).
For decades, this was a routine procedure. Assuming correct documentation was produced, along with a compelling reason for the extension, the applications were routinely approved. Without any meaningful notice, such applicants have been turned away, being told that these must be done through the Consulate. What was a two hour turnaround, is now a three month wait.
This policy has been applied inconsistently and referrals are often made to changes that were encoded some years ago but never applied.
It now turns out that the confusion may lie in an imperfect understanding by border officers of Blanket L petitions; those that allow large multinational companies to secure L visas for 50 or more employees.
These new interpretations appear to be legally flawed. As these applications are submitted when the applicant is not ‘physically present’, this is an ‘extension of petition validity’, not an ‘extension of stay’ and, as such, these may be processed upon presentation at a Port of Entry. This appears to have caused widespread confusion, resulting in many officers declining to process any application other than an original L visa.
Until this is clarified, applicants should prepare for new time lines and, possibly, higher fees if Premium Processing is required. Contact Janice P Warren for more detailed information.
If you are thinking about getting an E2 visa, you already know that E2s are for those who are looking to or have already started a business in the United States. This requires that the business be ‘real’ and ‘operating’ and that you invest your money. A lot of potential applicants incorrectly assume that simply having funds in an American bank account will suffice as investment. This is not true. An investment means that the funds have been spent on the business, or will be spent once the application is approved.
What many clients also think when they hear about the E2 visa is, “what if I invest my money and my visa is rejected?” This is where an escrow agreement comes into play. An escrow agreement is designed to mitigate the risk to the investor, while still being sufficiently at risk for the application. What’s important is that the funds have left your control, are at risk, and your commitment is irrevocable. If the application is approved, the funds will then be taken out of escrow and used as the type of investment they were intended to be.
As an example, an escrow account could include a purchase agreement in which a lawyer includes the legal clause that the purchase is contingent on an E2 approval. The important thing to note here is that an E2 approval must be the only contingency that can exist in an escrow agreement. Escrow funds can be used for purchase/sale agreements, marketing and advertising contracts, leases, and other investments that are not working capital. To learn more about how you can mitigate your risk as an applicant for an E2 visa and take advantage of an escrow fund, please call Toronto lawyer Janice Warren!
Canadians families often hire live in caregivers to take care of their children, sick family members, or the elderly. Foreign caregivers play an important role in the Canadian society, especially given the busy lifestyles of Canadians and aging population. So much so, that Canada is believed to be the only country that allows foreign workers the opportunity to gain Permanent residence after two years of experience.
To address the permanent need for caregivers by our society, Immigration is launching two new five year pilot programs for foreign caregivers, creating a direct pathway for them to become Permanent Residents of Canada. The two programs are called the ‘Home Child Provider’ and ‘Home Support Worker’ programs.
Under the new programs applicants will be assessed for permanent residence before they start working in Canada. This way, there is no confusion for the applicant when they arrive, as to whether they qualify for Permanent Residence. Attaining a two year work permit plus two years of work experience leads to a direct path to permanent residence. Another benefit of the new program is that caregivers can change jobs quickly because they will be given work specific work permits. This allows a caregiver to change jobs quickly, unlike previously where a temporary work permit tied caregivers to one employer. Also, the spouse of the caregiver can obtain a work permit and the dependents are eligible for study permits.
The previous program called ‘Caring for People with High Medical Needs’ left caregivers who arrived in Canada no direct path to remain in Canada. To remedy this, an interim pathway has been created for those caregivers who arrived in Canada in 2014. Applicants have until June 4, 2019 to apply for this program.
To learn more about the new programs and how to apply, contact Toronto lawyer, Janice Warren.
For most of us, operating a start-up can seem like a daunting task, and it becomes even more challenging doing so in a foreign country. For those who would like to establish a business in the United States, but wish to minimize the risk, franchising may be the best solution.
If you are risk averse, there are several advantages to starting a franchise in a foreign country, such as the United States, where competitive market forces can greatly increase uncertainty of success. The most obvious one is the fact that a new business plan is not required. The business model is already tried and tested in the domestic country. Given the general market similarities and culture of Canada and the United States, this is reassuring. Suppliers, training and equipment are usually provided which eliminates several other variables. Most importantly, depending on which franchise you chose, brand recognition can go a long way in establishing success. It also means a clear target market is mapped out which can make marketing and advertising more effective.
Now, assuming you have decided that the franchise route is for you, let’s talk about the visa you will need. In cases of starting businesses or franchises, an E2 visa is required. For the E2 visa, the applicant must have ownership and control of the enterprise which means at least 51% in the franchise. A substantial, irrevocable investment is also required. There is no explicit number stated by Immigration as to what constitutes substantial, but below $75,000 is not recommended. Also, simply having the money in a US bank account is not acceptable. It must be spent on your business.
Some of the benefits of an E2 are that the applicant’s spouse and dependents can accompany the applicant in the United States. In fact the spouse can work and the dependents can study while they are there. The E2 visa is also indefinitely renewable as long as the franchise is operating.
With all the risk factors to consider in operating a business, coupled with the onus of investing in the US before obtaining a visa, a franchise can mitigate some of the risk factors involved. To learn more and discuss the best action plan for you, contact Toronto Lawyer, Janice Warren.
Facing a declining birth rate and an aging population, the Canadian government plans on reaching unprecedented immigration levels over the next three years. The federal government plans to admit one million immigrants who will call Canada their home, over the next three years. What is more important is that 60% or roughly 600,000 of the new immigrants over the next few years will be from the Economic Class. These are bullish times for those seeking to live in Canada as a skilled immigrant, and Express Entry is one of the simplest ways to make it happen.
Express entry is an online application for permanent residence for skilled workers. A skilled worker should create an online profile on CIC in order to be considered a candidate. Once a profile is submitted, each candidate is ranked according to the points they collect based on criteria such as: education level, language skills, work experience, age, job offer, etc… The highest ranked will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
There are three streams of Express Entry which are available.
1) Federal Skilled Worker program:
2) Federal Skilled Trades Worker Program (FSTP)
3) Canadian Experience Class Program (CEC)
In 2018, 89,000 invitations to apply were sent to express entry candidates. This number is expected to increase in 2019 and further increase in 2020. Now more than ever, the government is open to allowing skilled immigrants make Canada their home. Take advantage of this and create your express entry profile! For more information about express entry and your likelihood of being admitted, contact Toronto lawyer Janice Warren.
There are some immigration points you should consider when deciding between Canada and The United States as a couple. It is common for a Canadian and an American to fall in love, and decide to combine their lives.
Similarities between both countries
1) The evidence required to establish a genuine relationship between a couple is the same.
2) Processing times are also similar, both countries process sponsorship files within 12-24 months. Additionally, in both locations your spouse can apply within the country or outside the country. Since Canada and the US have strong relations, there are no unique or special requirements of evidence for citizens from either country.
Differences between both countries
1) Canadian immigration recognizes four different categories of “spouse.”
However, in The United States, a couple must be married to apply for family sponsorship.
Common law spouses must reside together for at least one year, whereas, conjugal spouses need not reside together due to significant barriers (financial barriers, cultural/immigration barriers, sexual orientation etc.). A broader definition of a spouse is inclusive of individuals in unconventional circumstances where marriage is not the preferred choice of coupledom. However, in The United States, a couple must be married to apply for family sponsorship.
2) Financial Requirements
While it is important that the sponsor show that they meet the minimum income standards to provide the basic necessities for the entire family, this does not apply if it is a spouse or child who is being sponsored. It will be necessary to demonstrate what the sponsor's income is, but that will not be a bar to sponsorship in Canada. The most important objective of Canadian immigration is family reunification. This means that the lack of financial means to support your spouse will not be a reason for the refusal of your application.
The US system takes a different path, as family reunification is not explicitly the highest priority. The lack of funds is likely to lead to a refusal, but can be overcome by adding a 'joint sponsor' who will have the necessary level of income. The minimum household income for two in 2018, according to USCIS, is $20,575 USD . Each additional member (dependents) is an additional $5400 USD.
If you are someone in this scenario, deciding where you would like to reside as a couple, and who would like to learn more about the pros and cons of each immigration system, feel free to contact Toronto lawyer, Janice Warren, an experienced legal professional.
While for most Canadians, USMCA (previously NAFTA) is the most widely known trade agreement there are many others that have immigration consequences for Canadian businesses looking to send professionals to several countries. Below are some general requirements for an intra company transfers according to different trade agreements.
CCFTA Canada- Chile
CPA for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Canada - Korea
CETA (Canada-European Union)
There are many more nuances and specifications to be considered. If you would like to find out more about these trade agreements, and determine if you qualify for an intra company transfer under any of these agreements, please contact Toronto lawyer Janice Warren.
Here is a detailed chart: USMCA information
Do you have an extraordinary ability or an outstanding profession and want to move to the US? The EB1 may be the perfect visa for you to make your move.
An EB1 visa is ideal for a foreign national with an extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics. Unlike an O visa (which is also used by extra ordinary individuals) an EB1 does not require a petitioner. But it does require that the applicant must be entering to continue working in their chosen field.
There are types of EB1 visas which are:
EB1A- Extraordinary Ability
EB1B- Outstanding Professors and Researchers
EB1C- Multinational Executive/Manager
Each category of an EB1 visa has its own requirements for example:
There are a number of benefits in getting an EB1. A job offer is not required, only the intent to continuing working in their chosen field. Another benefit is that labor certification is not required, which is used to seek whether the position could be filled by an American). Since an EB1 visa is an immigrant visa, upon obtaining this visa, you qualify for a U.S. green card.
An EB1 requires extensive paperwork, and complex legal strategy to show sustained national or international acclaim. To ensure your application is as strong as it can be contact Toronto lawyer, Janice Warren for her expertise in handling EB1 visas.
An Intra Company Transfer or ITC work permit allows international companies to temporarily transfer their senior executives or employees to work for its Canadian subsidiary, affiliate, or branch. In many respects, an ITC is the Canadian counterpart to the American L1 visa.
To obtain this work permit, 3 main requirements must be met:
If the applicant is an executive, that person must direct management, set goals and use discretion in high level decision making. As a functional manager, the applicant must operate at the senior level, be involved in overseeing daily operations, and coordinate with other functional managers and senior level executives.
For those applying under the specialized knowledge category, s/he must show that there is 'proprietary knowledge' and ‘advanced level of expertise' which contributes to the overall productivity of the Canadian company. This knowledge should be scarce within the foreign firm and the industry to qualify as specialized. It must also be proven that these skills are not easily transferable and critical to the position applied for.
The good news is that this work permit is LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment) exempt, which relieves the Canadian company of onerous paperwork and research. Once approved, the ITC will be valid for one year initially, and the visa can be renewed.
The documentation required for this kind of application is extensive, complex, and full of nuances. It is crucial to make your submission as robust as possible, as a refusal at the port of entry will complicate your immigration matter. To make sure you have the proper documentation, and to guide you through the process, contact Toronto lawyer, Janice Warren.
An L1 visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows multinational/ growing companies to transfer their professionals to the United States. The L1 is divided into 2 categories, L1A for Senior Managers/Executives and L1B for Specialized Knowledge employees. Although it was initially created for multinational companies to transfer their employees to the U.S. it is also a very useful work visa for start-up businesses that wish to expand into the U.S.
An L1 visa is a dual intent visa which means that an L1 visa holder can apply for a green card without jeopardizing their current status. Even if an employee/executive is employed by foreign company on a full time basis, they do not need to be employed on a full time basis in the U.S. This is good news because it means the L1 visa allows for short term work.
There multiple other features and benefits of attaining an L1 visa
There are also a few drawbacks to the L1 visa
As you would expect, the paperwork for filing an L1 application is lengthy and complex. If you would like to learn more about the L1 visa, or determine whether you qualify for a visa, contact Toronto lawyer Janice Warren.
In practice for 20 years, Janice P. Warren has concentrated her immigration law practice on helping Canadians move to the United States and finding ways to make their move as efficient and cost-effective as possible.