Employment immigration: Which visa is the right one for you?

British Columbia residents who have the opportunity of obtaining employment in the United States may have many questions about the procedures to follow. Different visas could apply to U.S. employment immigration, and navigation of the legal procedures could be challenging. The type of visa required depends on the occupation of the person, his or her level of education and more.

The H visas cover various employment fields for those immigrating to the United States. H-1A visas are meant for registered nurses, and H-1B applies to holders of bachelor's degrees filling positions requiring their specialised knowledge. Agricultural workers and others in fields in which there is a shortage of U.S. workers may apply for H-2 visas. The latter group of potential immigrants must provide the sponsoring employer's documentation that no qualified workers with U.S. residency were willing or available for those positions.

Other employment visas include L-1 intra-company transfer visas for those transferred from a foreign office to a U.S. office of the same company. These typically involve executives or specialty employees going to the United States to provide training or work on specific operations. O visas apply to nationally or internationally known athletes or other individuals with extraordinary skills and abilities, and groups or teams with such abilities would apply for P visas -- such as international sports teams. Lastly, religious workers travelling to the United States must apply for R visas.

Reading all this may exacerbate the confusion of any British Columbia resident looking to accept employment in the United States. There are also requirements related to the need for an employer who is offering the applicant a job to act as the sponsor for visa purposes. Individuals who face the challenge of navigating the employment immigration process may utilize the skills of a seasoned immigration attorney who is experienced in cross border employment immigration issues between Canada and the United States.

Source: FindLaw, "Temporary Worker Visas", Accessed on Jan. 14, 2017

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