Why 2016 is the Perfect Time to Immigrate to Chicago
Chicago has been a top landing point for people immigrating to the United States for well over a decade, rivaling other large U.S. cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Over 588,000 immigrants live in the city of Chicago with another half a million residing in the Suburban Cook County region. This shows an urban demographic that’s ideal for immigration, in particular for those seeking to expand business.
An Economy Larger Than Most Countries
The economy of Chicago is the third largest in the United States, boasting a resilience not found in other metropolitan economic areas. One of the main reasons is the diversity found in the city, which houses corporate headquarters for more than 400 major businesses, among which 31 are listed in the Fortune 500.
In fact, Chicago’s economy is the most diverse in the nation, “with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.” The vast majority of business sectors are represented well in this city, which means you’re more than likely to find a major company or organization within your industry. Traders visiting Chicago will find a global derivatives market that’s double the size of New York, accounting for 22% of the market worldwide, more than all the activity in Europe put together.
In terms of innovation, Chicago has welcomed an average of 275 start-ups per year between 2011 and 2013, lured by the talent and capital developed in the region. This city is home to more than 1,800 businesses based outside the United States; companies in Chicago have spread to more than 120 countries, fostering more than 10,000 offices and outlets around the world. Put simply, Chicago is a prime international location for immigrants seeking better economic conditions.
Economic Trends Point to Prosperity
The latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the economy of Chicago will continue to flourish, with multiple economic indicators trending up. The unemployment rate, which has fallen consistently since 2009, will continue to drop throughout the year.
Overall, Chicago is slated to experience a metropolitan product growth between 2.3% and 3.4%, which would be a notable increase between the 2014 estimated growth of 1.7% to 2.6%. One of the biggest challenges that companies in the Chicago area face is “the relative dearth of technology talent in the city,” according to LaSalle Network CEO Tom Gimbel. As the founder of a recruiting and replacement firm, he notes that “companies are pretty bullish… people are making money in Chicago.”
Despite the overall growth in business, the cost of real estate will remain relatively steady, especially compared to the rapidly rising costs of markets such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. As of December 2015, the average Chicago home will cost $199,021 while the rest of the state averages $169,878. This makes home ownership a much more reasonable prospect for immigrants landing in Chicago.
Friendly Immigration Initiatives
Recent changes instituted by President Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel point to immigration policies that welcome a long tradition of new Americans benefitting the city, state and country as a whole. In addition to the President easing immigration regulations, the Mayor advocates for an expansion of work programs and opportunities, in addition to other important reforms.
The education level of immigrants in the Chicago area has risen along with the average household income for immigrant families. Despite a large influx of immigration, naturalization rates have remained relatively steady, which shows that many who arrive planning to make the most out of their opportunity earn permanent status within the United States.
Considering the multitude of opportunities offered to those who wish to live and work in Chicago, this city continues to be a prime destination for immigrants. Canadians wishing to work in the area can take advantage of TN visas that allow specific types of high-value professionals to work in the United States. Treaty investor and treaty trader visas allow people to visit Chicago to engage in trade and grow businesses that mutually benefit local and international businesses. Immigration that’s based on employment is another method of earning the privilege of living in Chicago, including pathways for those of extraordinary ability, managerial categories and professorial duties and research.
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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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