Once again, the Buy American, Hire American (BAHA) policy of President Trump which has resulted in higher rates of denials for professional IT workers has had unintended (or maybe not) consequences which has resulted in IT jobs leaving the US and going to Canada. Check out this recent summary on Law 360.
Beginning April 30, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer adjudicate L-1 intracompany transferee petitions for Canadian citizens at the Blaine, Washington ports of entry. Canadians seeking L-1 status who wish to enter the United States through Blaine must first file their petitions with the USCIS California Service Center for processing. This will apply to both L-1 admissions based on an employer’s previously approved blanket petition and individual L-1 petitions. Once an approval notice is issued, the beneficiary may use it at any northern border port of entry to request admission.
It has been strongly advised that applicants wait for the USCIS approval notice before applying for admission at the border. However, USCIS has indicated that applicants could be able to bring the filing receipt to the border for entry, at which point CBP would contact USCIS to verify whether the case would be approved, and then act on the admission request accordingly. USCIS is expected to provide further information on the pilot program as the implementation date nears and HLG will provide updates as they are available.
Initially, the pilot program will operate only at Blaine, Washington ports of entry. CBP is expected to continue to adjudicate Canadian L-1 applications for admission at other ports of entry until further notice. USCIS also has indicated that the program could be implemented across the northern U.S. ports of entry, and may also be extended to other immigration categories, such as the TN!
If you are a Canadian planning to apply for admission at the Blaine ports of entry for an L-1 visa, you need to take the upcoming pilot program into account when planning your travel.
Recently, applicants who hoped to obtain a visa stamping appointment at a U.S. Consulate in Canada were unable to schedule appointments after February 13, 2015. The Department of State reported that this was due to the fact that the U.S. Consulates in Canada were upgrading their visa appointment system. The updates were complete on February 1, 2015. While the transition to this new system was occurring, appointments were frozen between February 13, 2015 and April 1, 2015. Now that the upgrade is complete, the U.S. Consulates in Canada are making more appointments available. The release of these appointments is expected to continue through the coming weeks. If you are interested in attending a visa stamping appointment in Canada, we suggest that you frequently check visa appointment availability to review available appointment dates and times.
The Department of State has informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association that due to increasingly heavy demand by Canada-based visa applicants, the seven U.S. visa processing posts in Canada are extremely limited in their ability to accept Third Country National (TCN) cases during the peak demand months of June, July, and August. Visa processing those individuals will be suspended during this time.
A Third Country National is a non-Canadian citizen who is not currently a resident of Canada and wants to obtain a visa to the US from a US consulate in Canada. This often involves foreign nationals living in the US who do not want to return to their home countries for visa stamping and instead want to go to Canada to update the visa stamps in their passports.
The Department of State is encouraging such applicants to seek appointments elsewhere in the world, such as in the applicant’s home country. Emergency cases may seek consideration for scheduling an interview at a Canada post by visiting canada.usembassy.gov.
Cases already scheduled for appointments will be completed as scheduled.