How to Acquire US Green Card

Four ways to acquire US immigration

Author: Kamana Mathur, JD (Washington DC)

The term US Green Card or US immigration is synonymous with US Permanent Resident card or US PR Status. The US Green Card Holders are authorized to live in the United States permanently. They have most of the same rights of a U.S. Citizen, except that they cannot vote or run for elections, and can be deported for criminality or fraud. A US green card holder is eligible to apply for US citizenship after meeting 3 to 5 years of residency obligation. A US green card or US immigration can be acquired in the following four ways:

  1. Family
  2. Employment
  3. Business
  4. Asylum

1. Family-Based US Immigration 

To be eligible for US immigration based on a family relationship an applicant must have a relative who is a United States citizen or a permanent resident who is willing to sponsor him/her for US permanent residency by filing a Petition for Alien Relative (I-130). The US relative must prove that they can support the applicant by proving that his income is at least 125% above the U.S. poverty level for their household size, including the applicant and his family members.

U.S. Citizens are eligible to sponsor spouse, children under 21 year, married children, siblings, or parents. Permanent Residents can sponsor spouse and unmarried children of any age. Visa numbers for the parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21 are immediately available. All other relatives must wait for a US immigrant visa number. The waiting period varies with family relationship.

International Adoptions

ADOPTIONS FROM INDIA

In India, the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) allows an international adoption, if it has determined that the child cannot be placed or adopted within India. CARA monitors adoptions and adoption agencies in India.

An Indian family living abroad is given preferential treatment, provided it meets the following requirements:

Requirements from the adoptive parents:

Home study assessment report, photographs, marriage certificate, medical certificate, financial status, employment letter, Income tax return, agreement from the US child welfare agency that the child would be legally adopted within 2 years of his arrival in the USA.

2. EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRATION

The five employment based  US immigration categories: EB-1 to EB-5

First Preference (EB-1 priority workers): This category includes aliens with extraordinary ability; outstanding researchers and professors; and multinational executives. The applicants in this category have risen to the top in their area of endeavor, such as, athletics, research and management.

The applicant need not get a job offer or labor certification to get a US Green Card as an alien of extra ordinary ability. The aliens who are outstanding researchers or multinational managers (or executives) are required to obtain a job offer but they do not need labor certification.

Second Preference (EB-2 workers with advanced degrees and skilled workers with exceptional ability): This US green card category includes aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees (A bachelor’s degree with 5 year experience) or their equivalent. This category also includes persons with exceptional ability as shown by their academic records in the arts, sciences or business.

Both a job offer and labor certification is required to obtain US green card under this category though a national interest waiver may be obtained in some cases.

Third Preference (EB-3 professionals, skilled workers, and other workers): The applicants in this category must be professionals with a Bachelor’s degree; or they must be skilled workers with at least two years of training or experience. The applicants with less than two year training or experience and without a Bachelor’s degree are also eligible, if their employer can demonstrate that the unskilled workers can perform unskilled labor for which qualified workers are not available in the USA. The applicants must have a job offer and a labor certification from the US.

Both a job offer and a labor certification is required to be eligible for US immigration.

Fourth Preference (EB-4 special workers such as religious workers and former US employees abroad): This US green card applicant category is for those who have been a members for at least 2 years of a religious organization that has a non-profit religious organization in the USA, and who will be working in a religious occupation at the request of local US religious organization.

No labor certification is required to be eligible for US immigration.

3. BUSINESS IMMIGRATION, EB-5

Fifth Preference (EB-5 Employment Creation/investment): An applicant and his/her immediate family can obtain US Green Cards by investing $500,000 in a government-approved Regional Center in one of 25 locations in the country. The government takes care of finding, starting, or running the applicant’s business.

An applicant is eligible for the US green card within two years and he and his family can live, study, or work anywhere in the United States. Up to 10,000 foreign investors can apply under this program in a year.

If an investor wants to start his own business, he is eligible to invest outside the designated regional center, but the process for US immigration is more complicated:

This category is for those who can invest between $500,000 to $10,00,000 in a new commercial enterprise in US and who can create or maintain 10 full time jobs for a period of conditional 2 years. The $500,000 investment requirement is for a rural area or an area suffering high unemployment rate. A new enterprise means a business established after 1990 or before 1990 if its restructuring results in 40% increase in employees or net worth.

4. Asylum

An applicant who has been persecuted in home country on the grounds of race, religion, or political opinion have the right to file an application for asylum in the USA. If the asylum is granted, the applicant will be allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and later apply for a US permanent resident visa for himself and his family members. Victims subjected to human trafficking and domestic violence in the USA may also be eligible for US permanent visas under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA).

 

Canada Immigration PR Guide

 A Concise Guide to Immigration to Canada

Author: Parminder Singh LL.B (Canada)

Immigration to Canada is possible in four ways

  1. Family class
  2. Skilled workers class
  3. Business  class
  4. Refugee class

1. FAMILY CLASS [i]

The following members of family class are eligible to apply for Canada PR status:

  1. Spousal class
  2. Parental class
  3. Adoption class
  4. Other Relatives class
  5. Provincial Nominee class

1. SPOUSAL CLASS

Eligibility: An applicant is eligible for immigration to Canada under spousal class,  if he/she is married to or in a common law relationship with a Canadian Citizen or PR of opposite or same sex.

Processing time: It takes 4 to 6 months in India.

2. PARENTAL CLASS

Eligibility: Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or PR are eligible for Canada PR under this class. This program is paused at this time. In the meantime, parents are eligible to visit their children on a visitor visa.

Processing time:  3 years in India.

3. ADOPTION CLASS

Adopted children, under the age of 18, of Canadian Citizen or PR are eligible to immigrate to Canada under this class.

Adopted children over the age of 18 are eligible for sponsorship by a Canadian citizen or PR, if the adoption conforms to the laws of both the sponsor’s country and the sponsored person’s country.

4. OTHER RELATIVES

Eligibility: A Canadian citizen or PR can sponsor his/her

  • Sibling, nephew, niece, grandchild, who is orphaned, under 18 years of age and unmarried; or
  • Any other relative, if the Sponsor does not have any living relative listed above and no relatives living in Canada who are Canadian citizens or PR (spouse, child, parents, grandparents, nephews, nieces, uncle and aunt).  A sponsor is allowed to sponsor  one relative only.

Processing time:  Currently in India, it takes 61 months.

5. PROVINCIAL NOMINEE CLASS (FAMILY STREAM)

The Provincial Family class stream allows siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends, while Federal Family Class Program only allows spousal and parental sponsorship for Canada PR Status.

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2. SKILLED WORKER CLASS

Skilled workers are eligible for Canada PR status in 5 ways

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. Canadian Experience Class
  3. Quebec Experience Class
  4. Provincial Nominee Program
  5. Quebec Skilled Workers Program

1. FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER PROGRAM

The Federal Skilled Workers Program has two Canada Immigration programs

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Class
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Class

1) FEDERAL SKILLED WORKERS CLASS [ii]

There are currently 3 classes under this program:

  1. Priority Occupations
  2. Arranged Employment
  3. Ph.d stream

1. Priority Occupations

Click here for a list of 24 occupations eligible for priority processing (Total 5000 spots, with a sub CAP on each occupation

Eligibility

  • Must be in the list of 24 eligible occupations
  • Minimum one year experience in eligible occupation
  • Minimum 6 bands in each of IELTS components: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing
  • Educational equivalency assessment of foreign diplomas/degrees from a designated organization designated by Immigration Canada
  • Must score 67 points on the selection points grid

2. Arranged Employment

An applicant is eligible for immigration to Canada, if he meets the following conditions:

  • A Canadian employer has offered him a permanent job, with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and Skill Department of Canada (HRSDC) AND
  • the applicant has one year experience in his trade, which falls under skill type O, A or B under  NOC of HRSDC), that, is managerial, professional or technical occupations

3. Ph.d Stream

An applicant is also eligible to apply for Immigration to Canada, if he is a PH.D student in Canada. However, he must apply after 2 years of your PH.D studies or within a year of completion of PH.D.

Processing times: Currently it takes 1 year for processing of Canada PR applications under Arranged Employment Program.

2) FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES CLASS[iii]

Currently, Canada Immigration has 43 occupations that are eligible for fast track Canada PR program.

Canada Immigration’s Criteria to qualify,

  • Experience: minimum 2 years of experience.
  • Job Offer: an offer of employment from one or two Canadian employers of  one year duration with approved LMO from Human Resource Department of Canada.
  • English: IELTS Score: listening and speaking 5 bands, reading 3.5 bands, writing 4 bands.
  • Employment Requirements: an applicant must meet “Employment Requirements” of the HRSDC for his trade or be licensed in Canada.

Processing times: In India it takes under 12 months for processing of Canada PR applications.

2. CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS, CEC [iv]

  1. CEC for Workers
  2. CEC for Students

1. CEC for Workers

A foreign worker can immigrate to Canada on permanent basis under Canadian Experience class.

Eligibility

Work experience: 1 year of work experience in Canada on a work permit

English: IELTS score 5 bands for B skill type of NOC of HRSDC and 6 bands for skill type O or A of NOC of HRSDC.

2. CEC for Students

Eligibility

Study: Completion of at least 2 years of post-secondary study in Canada

Experience: One year of work experience in Canada

This program is not meant for unskilled or semi-skilled workers

3. QUEBEC EXPERIENCE CLASS 

Eligibility (Students): Two years of post-secondary study in Quebec and an intermediate level of French, if the applicant’s language of instruction was not French.

Eligibility (Workers): One year of work experience in last 2 years and intermediate level of French or proof that the applicant meets the language proficiency for the job.

4. PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM CLASS (Skilled workers stream)[v]

Skilled Worker Stream

Under Federal Skilled Worker’s Program, a good level of English is required whereas in Provincial Nominee Programs, English is required only at a basic level. The total qualifying points are also less under Provincial Program than the Federal Program.

However, all provinces, except Quebec, require a job offer under skilled worker stream of provincial nominee programs.

Semi-Skilled Worker Stream

Under PNP, the workers with semi-skilled categories are also eligible for Immigrating to Canada on permanent basis. These semi-skilled categories include Food Servers, Cleaners, Hotel Front Desk staff, Long Haul Truck Drivers, Bakers and Industrial Meat cutters.

The English language requirement is low. An applicant must have a job offer in order to be eligible.

Masters and Ph.d student stream

Under provincial nominee programs of some provinces, such as Ontario, the Master’s and  Ph.D degree holders from Canadian universities are eligible to apply for Canada PR status while they are in their last semesters or within two years of completion of their degrees. At the time of application, they must have legal status in Canada and be residing in the province where they apply for Canada immigration status.

No job is required to be eligible. There is a CAP of 1000 applicant per year in Ontario for this stream.

5. QUEBEC SKILLED WORKERS CLASS[vi]

Click the above link for information on Quebec skilled worker program

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3. BUSINESS CLASS [vii]

Immigration to Canada in 4 ways under business class

  1. Investor class
  2. Entrepreneur class
  3. Provincial Nominee class
  4. Quebec Business class

1. INVESTOR CLASS

Canada Immigration has closed Immigration to Canada under Federal Investor class TILL JUNE 2012 because 700 spots for the year 2010-2011 are full now. However, the provincial INVESTOR CLASSES are still open IN SOME PROVINCES.

Eligibility for Immigration to Canada under FEDERAL INVESTOR CLASS,

  1. Two years of business experience as an owner or manager and
  2. A net worth of $1.6 million.

An applicant must deposit $800,000 with the Canadian government’s investment program for 5 years. The Canadian government returns this money after 5 years without an interest.

Some government approved Canadian banks provide financing for $800,000 against an applicant’s property abroad. If an applicant is able to deposit $220,000 with the selected Canadian bank for 5 years without an interest, the bank  will finance $800,000 against the applicant’s  property abroad.

In other words,  if an applicant has $1.6 million of net worth, he need not sell all his assets in order to pay off $800,000; rather he only  pays $220,000 to the Canadian bank. Briefly, if an applicant has a cash flow of $220,000 plus two years of business experience, he and his family can qualify for Immigration to Canada.

2. ENTREPRENEUR CLASS

Entrepreneur class is divided in 2 parts

  1. Entrepreneurs
  2. Self-employed individuals

1. Entrepreneurs

Immigration to Canada under entrepreneur category is possible, if an individual

  1. has a net worth of  CAD$300,000 and
  2. has ability to invest in or acquire a Canadian business which will create employment in Canada.

2. Self Employed Persons

Canada PR status  is granted under self-employed class,  if an individual is able to support him/herself and any dependents with his self-employed income as a

  1. Farmer
  2. Athlete or
  3. Artists (Radio, TV, Stage, Film and other artisans)

Processing times: Currently, the processing times are 35 months for investor category and 84 months for entrepreneur class.

3. PROVINCIAL NOMINEE CLASS (Business/Farming/Investor Stream)

Under Federal Investor’s and farming business programs, a net worth of $1.6 million is required, but under the Provincial Nominee Program it is in the range of  $300,000 to $800,000, depending upon the province. See an example of Saskatchewan Business Class Immigration.

4. QUEBEC BUSINESS CLASS

Click the above link to know

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4. REFUGEE CLASS [viii]

Canada immigration has obligation under domestic and International law to accept refugees who are fleeing their countries because of fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, gender, political beliefs or membership in a particular social group, such as being a woman, gay or lesbian.

The refugee claim can be made from within Canada as well as from outside Canada. The process for refugee claims made outside, which is described in other article, is different from the claims made from within Canada, which is the subject matter of the present article.

Once a person puts his foot in Canada and claims refugee protection, he or she cannot be deported from Canada until the resolution of his claim by the Immigration & Refugee Board (IRB).

The applicant has to show at least 3 personal incidents of persecution or incidents of persecution to persons in his situation or persons related to him.

After the acceptance of refugee claim by the IRB, the applicant is eligible to apply for Canada PR status.

If the refugee claim is rejected, the applicant can challenge in the  the Federal Court of Canada. The process takes a year but in many cases may take longer.

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REFERENCES

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act RegulationsRegulations R-75, 86, 87, 87.1, 87.2, 88, 90, 97, 100, 116, 138


[i] R116: Family Class

[ii] R75: Federal Skilled Worker Class

[iii] R 87.2: Federal Skilled Trade Class

[iv] R 87.1: Canadian Experience Class

[v] R 87: Provincial Nominee Class

[vi] R86: Quebec Skilled Worker Class

 [vii] R 88, 90, 97, 100: Business Class (Investors, Entrepreneurs, Self-employed persons)

[viii] R138: Refugee Class

Quebec experience class: s. 38.1, 38.2, Regulation Respecting the Selection of Foreign Nationals, RRQ, c I-0.2, r 4