For residents of British Columbia, the United States has always been a big draw for employment. The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made heading south of the border simpler and even more appealing for skilled workers. However, if NAFTA is renegotiated, employment immigration policies may change for Canadians wishing to work in the United States.
Many Canadians work in the United States on what is called a TN visa. A TN visa makes it easy for a Canadian to cross the border and work after receiving a job offer from an American company. This type of visa is especially popular with young Canadians working in the tech industry.
However, should the terms of NAFTA be renegotiated by a new American government under President-elect Donald Trump, the future of the TN visa program may be in jeopardy. One Canadian expert on international affairs suggests that if the TN visa program were to be discarded, many U.S. employers might have difficulty recruiting enough skilled workers, and that Mr. Trump may need to reconsider his position. Another expert advises young Canadian graduates fielding U.S. employment offers to apply for the TN visa as soon as possible, and try to get the maximum three-year term.
Though the new president will not be inaugurated until early next year, NAFTA will be one of the early items on his agenda. And while a climate of uncertainty may make seeking employment in another country seem like a risky venture, there will likely continue to be a flow of workers in both directions between these two countries. Men and women of British Columbia who wish to pursue their career goals in the United States are encouraged to speak with an attorney practicing law in the employment immigration field for advice and assistance.
Source: CBC News - Ottawa, "Canadians in U.S. fret over visas, jobs as NAFTA chatter intensifies", Julie Ireton, Nov. 18, 2016