How to Move from the US to Canada

How to Move from the US to Canada

Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Professionals

Lately, much has been said and written on how Google in the US exploded with “How to move to Canada” queries after the first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden. If I were living in the US, I would probably do the same after having watched the first debate.

But setting aside all political, emotional and immigration-related feelings (because there’s enough dose of that mixture in the US), let’s look at how business owners, entrepreneurs, investors and professionals can move from the US to Canada in good times and bad times.

This article will highlight only some of the main pathways of immigrating to Canada from the perspective of “business immigration” and “professional immigration” which covers the following possible scenarios:

  • US-based companies may open their affiliated office(s) in Canada, relocate their team to Canada and still serve their customers in the US. Being in Canada saves them from the US immigration system’s headache related to hiring and keeping their best foreign workers;
  • Investors (and their key staff members) who are US citizens and are ready to make a substantial investment in a new or existing business in Canada to get a work permit to come to Canada fast;
  • Skilled foreign professionals whose H1B (or other) visa status in the US looks uncertain. They can get a job in Canada, solidify their immigration status in Canada or even get a permanent residence in Canada which can lead them to Canadian citizenship;
  • Self-employed foreign professionals located in the US who have been serving their customers in the US and now have uncertainty as to their US visa status renewal. They could switch to Canada and continue serving the US-based clients

There are many variables that we cannot capture in one article. Therefore, if you fit into one of these categories, fill up our Business Immigration Assessment Form now. We’ll analyze your information and tell you if we can help you to relocate to Canada.

So, here are some broad pathways that you can use to bring yourself and your business from the US to Canada.

1. Intra-Company Transfers from the US-based company to a Canadian company/branch.

If you have a US-based company that has been doing business for not less than 12 months, you can transfer 3 categories of people from the US to Canada. This is referred to as “Intra-Company Transfers” or simple transfers between related/affiliated companies.

  • Category One: Executives and Senior Managers who make important managerial decisions in your company;
  • Category Two: Managers who are given certain essential functions to achieve certain goals in your company;
  • Category Three: Specialized Knowledge employees who have expert knowledge in your company’s products and services. Every industry has its own way of defining who these categories of people are

As your existing US company will in fact “expand to Canada”, your company must demonstrate financial capacity to realize a realistic business plan in Canada.

The final result of the ICT applications is a one-year work permit for the transferees. Their immediate family members can accompany them to Canada. Their spouses can get an open work permit or study permits and children of school age can go to Canadian public schools for free. The transferee’s family can benefit from the free health care system in Canada.

2. Investors can “invest their way” to Canada and get a work permit and possibly permanent residence, citizenship.

The Canada-United States and Mexico Agreement (CUSMA, aka “new NAFTA) is a great platform for US investors to use. Under CUSMA, the US citizens who can invest substantially in a new business in Canada (which can be their own new business) or an existing business in Canada (a partnership or joint venture or similar arrangements can work) can get a 2-year work permit and move to Canada. Similarly, investors can bring their essential staff to Canada, too.

What can be considered “substantial investment” depends on the nature of the business venture, the volume of total investment and must be argued on a case-by-case basis.

When you come to Canada as an investor under CUSMA, you may later seriously consider becoming a permanent resident in Canada. Why not? It is possible to gain a more solid status in Canada and being a permanent resident could be a great thing considering your long-term objectives and the nature of your business. However, your primary goal as a CUSMA investor must be to develop and run your Canadian business.

3. Skilled Foreign Professionals in the US (both US citizens and non-US citizens) can get a job offer and move to Canada fast.

If you are an H1B visa professional in the US and your immigration future in the US seems a bit uncertain, then you are not alone. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of professionals do not have a clear vision of their future in the US.

What can be done if you don’t want to move back to your home country and want to stay in North America? Plus, your career and professional development are tightly connected with the US market. A simple answer is C.A.N.A.D.A!

Depending on your citizenship and your profession, you may find one or more of the following pathways suitable for your long-term immigration goals:

  • Global Talent Stream: if you’re in one of these professions and their respective sub-categories, then Canadian companies can hire you and bring you to Canada fast! There are 2 categories of occupations: Category A and B and most skilled professionals in the US will probably fall into Category B and don’t require to be nominated by an approved organization in Canada, unlike the Category A occupations.
  • CUSMA Professionals Category for the US citizens: there is a list of over 60 occupations in the CUSMA which can easily come to Canada by obtaining work permits. Canadian companies hiring for these occupations do not need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment to bring the US citizens in these occupations to Canada as foreign workers.
  • International Mobility Program for the citizens of free trade agreement countries: if you are from certain countries that have free trade agreements with Canada, you may benefit from the IMP. Canada has free trade agreements with EU countries, US and Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Australia, Japan, Panama, South Korea, and other countries that are parties to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (namely, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam).
  • International Experience Canada program: young citizens of certain countries can get a one-time 1 or 2-year open work permits to come to Canada. There are 3 programs under the IEC: Working Holiday gets you an open work permit, the Young Professionals program gets you an employer-specific work permit, and International Co-Op allows you to get an internship in Canada.
  • Standard job offer pathway: for those foreign professionals in the US who cannot benefit from the flexibilities of the above-noted programs, a more traditional way of finding a job at a Canadian company could be a way towards Canada. In this scenario, a Canadian company must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment and then bring a foreign worker to Canada. Many Canadian companies need to fill available vacancies and all of them must advertise their vacancies on the JobBank website if they want to bring a foreign worker. Interested professionals must check this website, prepare a Canadian-style resume and apply for these positions.
  • Standard international student pathway: if you want to upgrade your education, then think of Canada again. You can study in Canada, work part-time during your studies and get a Post Graduate (open) Work Permit after graduation and, thus, follow a sure path to Canadian permanent residence

4. Self-Employed Professionals Can Self-Build their future in Canada first through a work permit and then on permanent resident status.

Do you have relevant experience and great achievements in the cultural or athletic fields? Then, self-employed immigration could be a right for you.

The whole process takes up roughly 2 years, but that period can give you the flexibility to plan before your current status in the US expires and allows you to make a confident step towards Canada. If that’s the case, start acting now!

Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help

These broad pathways can help various would-be immigrants achieve their immigration goals in Canada. There are many other different immigration solutions available for motivated companies and individuals.

Immigration requires a very individual approach and implementing the right strategy at the right time. Sobirovs Law Firm lawyers have more than 20 years of combined experience in devising strategies for clients from various countries, including the US.

By following one of the pathways above, you could solve/address the following problems.

If you are a US-based company, you could:

  • Maintain your key team members very close to the US market;
  • Allow your important team members to have a predictable and stable immigration status. This, in turn, allows you and your team to focus on the business, not on immigration;
  • Nurture long term relationships with your valuable team members allowing them to have their family next to them in Canada;
  • Increase employee loyalty as you make efforts to solve possible immigration issues for them, and much more

If you are a US-based investor, you could:

  • Acquire or partner with existing Canadian companies and offer quality services to both Canadian and American clients, and at the same time, you could give yourself more flexibility concerning your immigration status in Canada.
  • Invest in promising Canadian start-ups who can harvest great talent from Canada’s top universities and colleges as well as bring foreign professionals to Canada easily.
  • Move to Canada as a family to benefit from all the good things that Canada offers because due to COVID-19 we are now accustomed to working from anywhere.

If you are a skilled professional or self-employed professional, you could:

  • Transfer yourself and your family to Canada and get hired by Canadian companies or by the Canadian affiliates of the US-based companies.
  • Make a solid step towards a more sustainable and predictable immigration status in Canada. There’s no rule (not anymore) that requires you to be physically present in the US.
  • Depending on your citizenship, benefit from many immigration flexibilities that Canada offers to the citizens of certain free trade countries mentioned above.
  • Bring your family to Canada and send your children to the best public schools in Canada for free and let them enjoy a very multicultural, multiethnic and welcoming environment. At the same time, you and your spouse can work together to get permanent residency for the whole family.

We listen to your goals, understand your priorities and then offer the right immigration solution. Contact us today by completing this short Assessment Form, and our team will get back to you within 24 hours.