US immigration laws might deny Canadians of green cards

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) has introduced an amendment that will likely be alarming to business executives and managers, IT workers, and even snowbirds in British Columbia and other provinces and territories in Canada. The proposed amendment intends to change the current U.S. immigration cap for employment visas per country to a system of first-come-first-serve. Such a bill would have high-skilled workers waiting for years to obtain a visa or a green card.

The amendment will affect the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 green card categories. According to the State Department, Canada was allocated 4,757 immigration visas in these three categories in 2017. Some analysts reckon that the Yoder amendment would cause the first year's number to drop by 77 percent, the second year 85 percent and almost zero for a significant period after that. The analysts also say that Canadian applicants with extraordinary abilities, multinational managers and outstanding professors who seek EB-1 visas would almost immediately be excluded for an indefinite period.

Although about 1,500 EB-1 visas per year have been allocated to Canada up to now, if the wait-time based system comes into effect, the number would be zero for Canadians while the waiting list of other countries exists. Only once the existing backlog for all countries is equalized will Canadians be considered. Reportedly, over the three visa categories, the current backlog for green cards for countries other than Canada is almost 750,000. Instead of the current situation in which there is no backlog for Canadian applicants, they would have to wait about 12 years to be considered for employment-based visas.

This will likely be the case if the Yoder amendment becomes law. With rapidly changing U.S. immigration laws, anyone in British Columbia who considers taking a job south of the border might be advised to consult with a lawyer who is up to date with changes and pending amendments to the laws. An experienced lawyer's guidance can simplify the immigration process.

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