Archive for July, 2009

Visa Spotlight: E-1 and E-2 visas for Treaty Traders and Investors

Henry Chang | July 28, 2009 in United States Immigration | Comments (0)

The E-1 and E-2 categories are intended for use by individual entrepreneurs (and also corporations) who are ether engaged in substantial trade (E-1) or substantial investment (E-2) in the United States. Unlike most categories, which require a United States employer to petition on behalf of the foreign worker, E-1 and E-2 applicants may apply on their own for the purpose of operating their own businesses in the United States. Foreign corporations may also use the E-1 and E-2 categories to send their foreign workers to the United States. Click here for the full article.

Recent Amendments to the Canadian Citizenship Act Restore Citizenship to “Lost Canadians”

Henry Chang | in Canadian Immigration | Comments (0)

As a result of Bill C-37, recent amendments (the “2009 Amendments”) have been made to the Canadian Citizenship Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-29; these amendments became effective on April 17, 2009. The 2009 Amendments will give Canadian citizenship to certain Canadians who either previously lost their citizenship or who never previously acquired it. It also limits Canadian citizenship to the first generation born abroad. Click here for the full article.

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program Issues Revised Occupations List for Strategic Recruitment Stream

Henry Chang | in Canadian Immigration | Comments (0)

On May 19, 2009, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (“AINP”) issued a revised list of occupations for its Strategic Recruitment Stream. The Strategic Recruitment Stream targets foreign nationals (and their dependents) in the United States holding H-1B, H-1B1, H-1C, and E-3 visas. These nonimmigrants may apply for permanent residence without a job offer from an employer in the Province of Alberta. Seven of the information technology occupations that previously appeared on the occupations list have been deleted from the current list. Click here for the full article.

Visa Spotlight: E-3 visas for Australian Citizens

Henry Chang | in United States Immigration | Comments (0)

When the REAL ID Act of 2005 was enacted, it established a new nonimmigrant visa category at INA §101(a)(15)(E)(iii); this new category is commonly referred to as the “E-3.” Despite the fact that this category appears at INA §101(a)(15)(E)(iii), it has very little in common with the E-1 (treaty trader) and E-2 (treaty investor) nonimmigrant categories. It more closely resembles the H-1B nonimmigrant category for specialty occupations. Click here for the full article.

Several Canadian Provinces and U.S. States Begin Issuing Enhanced Driver’s Licenses

Henry Chang | in Canadian Immigration,United States Immigration | Comments (0)

On June 1, 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (“WHTI”) became effective for land and sea travel; it has applied to air travel since January 23, 2007. WHTI requires U.S. and Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S.

As of June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens traveling to the United States by land or by sea will be will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below:

1) A Canadian Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.

2) Enhanced Driver’s Licence (“EDL”)/Enhanced Identification Card (“EIC”) – Canadian provinces have begun issuing these documents that denote identity and citizenship that are WHTI-compliant for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea but not by air.

3) Trusted Traveler Programs – NEXUS, FAST/Expres and SENTRI enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved travelers. FAST/Expres cards are valid for use at land or sea ports of entry; the NEXUS card can be used at land or sea ports of entry and at kiosks at participating airports.

Some, but not all, Canadian Provinces have already begun issuing EDLs to facilitate cross-border travel:

1) The Province of Quebec began taking applications from Quebec drivers for EDLs on March 16, 2009; click here for further information. (For information in French, click here.)

2) The Province of British Columbia began taking applications from British Columbia drivers for for EDLs on April 6, 2009; click here for further information.

3) The Province of Ontario began taking applications from Ontario drivers for EDLs on May 19, 2009; click here for further information (For information in French, click here).

4) The Province of Manitoba was scheduled to begin issuing EICs to Manitoba drivers but the Manitoba Public Insurance website still indicates that the program is awaiting final approval. Click here for further information on the Manitoba EIC program. (For information in French, click here.)

In the United States, the State of Michigan, the State of New York, the State of Vermont, and the State of Washington are also currently issuing EDLs to their residents.

Canada Imposes Visa Requirement on Citizens of Mexico and the Czech Republic

Henry Chang | in Canadian Immigration | Comments (0)

On July 13, 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced that Mexican and Czech citizens would both require visas to travel to Canada; this visa requirement became effective at 12:01am EDT on July 14, 2009. In other words, almost no advance notice was given before the requirement took effect. CIC stated that, for the first 48 hours, Mexican and Czech citizens would be permitted to apply for entry on arrival in Canada. However, after 11:59pm EDT on July 15, 2009, the visa requirement would be mandatory for admission to Canada. The apparent reason for this change is the increasing number of refugee claims being filed by citizens of Mexico and the Czech Republic.

CIC indicated that Mexican cases have almost tripled since 2005, making it the number one source country for claims. In 2008, more than 9,400 claims filed in Canada came from Mexican nationals, representing 25 per cent of all claims received. Of the Mexican claims reviewed and finalized in 2008 by the Immigration and Refugee Board, an independent administrative tribunal, only 11 per cent were accepted.

CIC indicated that, since the visa requirement was lifted on the Czech Republic in October 2007, nearly 3,000 claims have been filed by Czech nationals, compared with less than five in 2006. The Czech Republic is now the second top source country for refugee claims. The relatively higher acceptance rate of refugee claims originating in the Czech Republic masks the troubling fact that more than half of the claims are abandoned or withdrawn before a final decision is made by the Immigration and Refugee Board, indicating that many claimants may not be genuine refugees.

The visa requirement is expected to cause delays at Canadian consular posts in Mexico as well as considerable inconvenience for Mexican citizens who plan on travelling to Canada. The visa requirement could be even more inconvenient for Czech citizens, who will need to apply for visas at the Canadian consulate in Vienna, Austria.