How to Optimize the TN Visa Process for Your Future Employees
At this time, there are no easy solutions to the employee shortfall, but many businesses have decided to turn to foreign professionals to flesh out their organization’s skilled teams and bring in new talent. Many are terming this decade the time of the ‘great talent recession.’ However, the often-untapped talent pool of TN professionals does hold promise for U.S. employers in a variety of industries.
Optimizing the TN Visa Process
If you are a U.S. employer with a professional job vacancy and you have had little luck filling it with a domestic candidate, then you might want to consider hiring a foreign national. The TN nonimmigrant visa was launched under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to aid U.S. businesses with filling temporary job openings using skilled Mexican or Canadian professionals.
The NAFTA treaty was developed to foster strong business relations and robust trade between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Two visa types were set up, the TN-1 visa is for Canadian professionals and the TN-2 visa is for Mexican professionals.
When working with a foreign national, you can help streamline the TN visa process by adhering to the following:
A TN visa holder can stay in the United States for up to three years. The length of stay is extendable every three years in three-year increments. When hiring a TN professional, you’ll want to ensure the job will last at least three years and possibly longer to provide a sense of security to the foreign worker.
In order to extend the TN visa past the initial first three years, certain key factors must be met. U.S. immigrant officials will look at how long the TN position will last. It is important that the position last at least three years because if the immigration official suspects that the job position is only short term then they will likely deny the visa petition and the entire TN visa process will grind to a halt.
If you are hiring a web designer to create your brand’s new website, then the position will likely not last the full three years so a foreign national might face denial during the TN visa process. Another example is if you are hiring a top-notch foreign management consultant to oversee a major acquisition or merger, the deal will likely also not last three years so the odds of a foreign national gaining a TN visa for the position becomes problematic. As an employer, you’ll need to evaluate exactly how long you’ll honestly need the skilled professional or the entire TN visa process can prove to be a waste of time.
Typically, decisions are up to the discretion of immigration officials who will try to determine if the TN visa position will truly last three years when creating the applicant’s Form I-94. At the various U.S. ports of entry, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency handles the adjudication.
In order to help the foreign national, obtain the TN visa, you’ll need to draft a job offer letter that outlines the following:
Strike Provisions Per NAFTA
As an employer, you cannot hire a foreign worker to fill a position if your business is experiencing any sort of a labor dispute or a strike. If the employer is having some sort of unrest, then the TN visa petition might end up being denied quickly. You must ensure that hiring the applicant at your company would not impact the dispute settlement efforts. Also, if you foresee unrest or a strike at your company then you should put off hiring a TN visa holder because they must leave the United States if a strike should arise.
Of course, no one employer has a crystal ball to foresee exactly what is going to happen, but you do know if there is unrest in your organization. You should definitely take into consideration the climate at your business before enlisting the assistance of a foreign recruitment agency to hire a TN visa professional.
TN Visa Application and Requirements
If you want to optimize the TN visa process for your candidate, then you’ll want to take the time to familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria outlined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are fairly straightforward:
The NAFTA professions require that the applicant have a baccalaureate degree. Experience is usually not considered a substitute to the required degree. If the visa applicant has a degree that was obtained outside of the United States, Mexico, or Canada then they must also submit an evaluation. On occasion, several years of experience might also be required in addition to the baccalaureate degree.
The USCIS also has rules for applicants from Mexico or Canada. Canadian citizens can usually enter the United States without a visa as nonimmigrants. However, the TN visa classification helps ensure their nonimmigrant status during their stay. Mexican applicants cannot enter the US without a visa, so the TN visa process differs between applicants of Mexico and Canada.
During the TN visa process, the applicant does not have to apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Instead, they can apply at a U.S. port of entry or a pre-flight inspection station that has been designated. The TN visa applicant must provide proof of Canadian citizenship to the Canadian Border Patrol (CBP) officer.
A CBP officer has the authority to determine eligibility for the TN visa and whether or not to grant admittance to the U.S.
As an employer, you can help optimize the TN visa process by filing a Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS. Upon approval, the visa applicant can submit the approval notice to the USCIS using Form I-129. They must also show proof of Canadian citizenship along with any supporting documents at the U.S port of entry to the CBP officer. The CBP officer will also ask the visa applicant a variety of questions to determine eligibility.
TN Visa Application for a Mexican Citizen
Mexican nationals who wish to petition for a TN visa must submit a visa request at the consulate or U.S. embassy in Mexico. They are required to gain full approval prior to visiting the U.S. port of entry.
Upon approval of the visa application, the TN visa holder will gain admission into the United States.
Hire a Foreign Recruitment Agency
Is your company in need of a skilled professional? Have you been trying unsuccessfully to find a skilled American worker to fill your job opening but failed? Maybe it’s time to hire a foreign recruitment agency to tap into the pool of foreign professionals seeking work outside their home countries? Hiring foreign labor professionals can help streamline the entire TN visa process.
One of the main perks of the TN visa program is flexibility for employers. As an employer, you don’t have to worry about visa caps, fiscal year limits or extensive, time-consuming advance petitions.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Foreign Recruitment Agency
With the U.S. job market becoming extremely competitive and a nationwide shortage of skilled professionals to fill positions, many employers have turned to the foreign job market in an attempt to bring in fresh talent.
Challenge of Finding Skilled Foreign Nationals
Providing Proof, You Need a TN Visa Holder
Can a TN Visa Holder Bring Their Spouse and Children?
Many employers who are new to the TN visa process might worry about hiring a Canadian or Mexican professional with a nonimmigrant visa. They fear investing time and money into training only to have the individual return to their home country when their visa expires. However, as mentioned above, a TN visa is extendable indefinitely. The professional that you hire can continue working past the three-year deadline on their TN visa if they continue to request an extension and you continue to have the position available to them.
If you decide that you no longer need the services of the TN visa holder then upon termination of employment, they can remain in the U.S. only 60 days. You are not required to pay for any transportation fees when the TN worker returns to their home country. If the TN visa holder finds a new employer, then they must recommence the TN visa process.