In addition to being one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world, North America is also the place where many people around the world want to live. Most immigrants have moved to North America to experience greater economic opportunities or increased personal and political freedom. According to the Pew Research Center, eligible immigrants from India had one of the higher naturalization rates in the US (80%) by 2015. The Times of India reported that the number of Indians living in Canada who obtained citizenship increased by 50% in 2018. 

Working Within The US

Within the United States, employers are obligated to verify that you are legally able to work in the US. When you do not have citizenship status or permanent residency in the United States, then you will need a visa to work, as well as a suitable work permit. This permit is formally called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which enables a non-citizen to lawfully work in the US.

Obtaining A Work Visa

There are several types of work visas you can seek so that you can obtain employment in the United States, such as green cards, temporary work visas, seasonal work visas, and exchange worker visas. The one that you can apply depends on the type of work that you will do, and if you already have a relationship with an employer. Here are details about each type of US work visa along with information on how to apply for a visa.

 – Green Cards: This is a Permanent Residence Card or USCIS Form I-551. A green card does not give you the same status as a United States citizen, but it allows you to live as a permanent resident and apply for citizenship after five years of residency. 

 – Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant Visas: These are available for individuals approved to take part in work and study-based exchange visitor programs. Search through the approved programs until you find an area that matches your interests and qualifications. If approved, recipients of a J-1 visa can stay in the US for the duration of their program which can range from a couple of months to several years.

 – US Temporary Non-Agricultural (H-2B) Visas: This can be used for jobs in areas that are temporary or seasonal and non-agricultural, not related to farming. Examples include ski lodges, theme parks, and beach resorts. You won’t be able to personally apply for this visa. Instead, apply for the position and the employer must apply for a visa on your behalf. Usually, H-2B visas are valid for one year but can be lengthened based on one-year periods, with a maximum of three years. 

 – US H1-B non-immigrant Visas: Allows skilled, educated individuals in specialized occupations outside of the United States to temporarily work for a specific employer in the United States. Qualifying fields include medicine/health, engineering, and even fashion modeling. An employer must petition for the visa, and you must continue to work for that sponsoring employer throughout the visa. 

 – US Seasonal Agricultural Worker (H2-A) Visas: Helps American farmers cover employment gaps by hiring staff from other countries. This can occur in areas such as farms, ranches, and orchards. Determine what area of the country you want to work in and start a job search of agricultural employers in that area. 

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Once you have obtained the appropriate visa, you will need to get a work permit. This is an authorization granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prove you are eligible for employment in the US. It has to be given to your employer for proper records of your stay. 

Prepare for Border Patrol Inquiry

Securing these documents is necessary, but it does not guarantee entry to the US. A visa demonstrates that a consular officer from a US Embassy deemed you eligible to seek entry for the specific purpose listed on the visa. Anyone, even US citizens, can be turned away from a United States entry point. The key is to be prepared for what border patrol agents are looking for in case you have to provide further information. 

Usual Causes to be Denied Entry to the US

 – A medical or physical condition that may be deemed harmful to others

 – No income; likely to become dependent on need-based government assistance.

 – A history of drug or substance abuse

 – Past convictions of specific crimes such as drug trafficking

 – Violations of US immigration policy in the past

Working through these red flags is possible in some cases such as seeking medical treatment or proving that there has been a mistake on your criminal record. Waivers are also available that allow you to request US immigration authorities to overlook the problem and admit you anyway. Again, the best route to take may be to prepare ahead of time by gathering all documents and records you may need to address possible inquiries about your admittance into the United States.

Working Within Canada

If you decide that you prefer Canada rather than the United States, there are different procedures to consider so that you gain the right to work. Because you won’t start your job search as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you need to gain a work permit to work legally.

Canadian Employment

In general, you need to apply for the work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or a Canadian visa office before you come to Canada. For these work permits:

 – You should seek a secure job offer from a Canadian employer.

 Use the leading job boards, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster, to search for employment positions.

 – The employer must apply the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to decide if they can hire a foreign worker to fill the job.

Going this route for a work permit can land you in Canada within a matter of weeks to months. Countless foreign skilled workers have come to Canada and qualified for permanent residence.

 – If you have an offer of employment that is temporary, you may be able to seek a Temporary Work Permit

Canada has several economic immigration programs that allow people to successfully obtain permanent residence. 

Express Entry: The first step taken by many immigrants is to submit a profile under Express Entry. Under this profile, the applicant receives ranking points based on their language ability, education, skills, and experience. Every two weeks, an invitation to apply for permanent residence is sent to the candidates with the most points.

Provincial Nominee Program: With the exception of Quebec, provinces in Canada can nominate the immigrants they would like to accept as permanent residents, based on criteria they set that address their own needs. To qualify for this program, apply with the province you would like to live in. 

Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers: Quebec has established its own set of rules for choosing immigrants who will adapt well to living there.

Start-up Visa Program: Designed to draw entrepreneurs to Canada and support them (including funding) to build businesses that will provide jobs for Canadians.

Caregiver Program: Gives opportunities to individuals who provide in-home care to children, or people with high medical needs, to apply for permanent residence.

Jobs In The United States