Canadian Immigration Vs. US Immigration

In a Newsweek article from February 16, 2009, Fareed Zakaria sings the praises of the Canadian immigration system contrasting it with what he calls the United States “brain-dead immigration system.”

Canada Vs. US: Which Immigration System Is Better?

Fareed Zakaria claims that the US “issue[s] a small number of work visas and green cards, turning away from our shores thousands of talented students who want to stay and work here.

Advantages of the Canadian Immigration System

Canada, by contrast, has no limit on the number of skilled migrants who can move to the country. They can apply on their own for a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal “permanent residents” in Canada-no need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job. Visas are awarded based on education level, work experience, age and language abilities. If a prospective immigrant earns 67 points out of 100 total (holding a Ph.D. is worth 25 points, for instance), he or she can become a full-time, legal resident of Canada.”

Interesting take on things! Unfortunately, while it is true that applicants for Canadian permanent residence do not always require a “sponsoring employer” to qualify, the  Canadian system is more restrictive than Mr. Zakaria leads us to believe–especially given the recent changes to the Skilled Worker System in Canada.

What is the Skilled Worker System?

Firstly, under the Skilled Worker system, in order to qualify, applications have to have an occupation found on a very short list of 38 High Demand Occupations. Further, in some cases applicants for Canadian Permanent Residence do require Canadian job offers to qualify. Canadian immigration is very technical in nature and if you do not fit nicely into the criteria set out in the Regulations, you are generally out of luck.

So it is not all roses when it comes Canadian immigration.

Advantages of the US Immigration System

Moreover,  the US immigration system, for all its faults, has some advantages over its Canadian counterpart.  For instance, there are many more options available to enter the US as a foreign worker than there are for Canadian applicants. For instance, under US immigration law, there are O, B, H, TN, L, J, R and E Visas! The list goes on. Although these visas are of a temporary nature (they are work permits), many can lead to a Green Card or US Permanent Residence. Further, the US immigration has features and benefits not found in the Canadian system such as the “Adjustment of Status” provisions or AOS.

What is the “Adjustment of Status” Provisions?

AOS allows applicants to “adjust their status” from temporary status to permanent status without having to leave the US and wait outside the US for their permanent visas to be issued. The AOS provisions have been in place for years. And only recently, has Canada adopted similar procedures and only in very limited circumstances.

Let a Licensed Immigration Lawyer Help You Decide

Overall, there are benefits and drawbacks to both the US and Canadian immigration systems. So be careful of what you read, even in Newsweek about Canada immigration vs. US immigration. Unsure of which country is a better fit for you? Let a licensed Immigration Lawyer help you decide. 

VisaPlace Group has licensed award winning Canadian and US lawyers who adhere to the highest standards of client service. We know how to deal with government officials effectively in order to maximize outcomes for all visa applications. Feel free to contact us, we can help!

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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