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Immigration (This is long.)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Friends,

This is a bit of an odd issue to bring up in a Chef forum, but I feel that you all may have the best advice. So here's my situation:

I'm a Canadian citizen who currently resides in Vancouver, BC. I grew up in the states and used to hold a Visa through my parent. However, I'm too old to hold the same one and did not enroll in College so I came back to Canada for that and other reasons. I've worked here (as a cook) for a number of months and would really like to return to the US and resume working in the culinary field as well as pursue schooling in Culinary Management. I am a willing, competant cook with a few years of good experience and a decent amount of intelligence so I don't feel that it would be impossible to get employed steadily.

My problem is, I can't get a "Work Visa" and would have to wait a considerable amount of time (and enter the lottery) to get a Green Card. The reason I can't get a work Visa, an H1-B, is because you have to be sponsored by your employer. Unless I managed to secure a position with someone who was willing to assist me in filing, I am ineligible.

The other route to go would be a Student Visa (M). However, this visa limits holders to work only 20 hours a week on campus. In special circumstances, you may be permitted to work 20 hrs. off campus, however because of the extensive paperwork, employers tend to shy from it. There is also a rare situation which grants the ability to work unlimited hours in your field of choice. However, this is almost impossible to obtain and goes on only until the completion of your studies, after which your employment eligibility ceases. The latter of the two options are based on a later evaluation of academic standing, which means that for the first few months, I couldn't work.

So my question is, does anyone know of people in similar situations, and what they're doing (or has anyone been in this situation themselves)? Also, if anybody knows of a company that has a repuation for international recruiting, I'd love the information.

My main point is that I don't want to wait 3+ years for a 1/170 chance of even getting a Green Card. If I can find a way to legally work while I go to school, I have a much better chance of getting hired on a Visa from a US employer.

Thanks so much ladies and gentlemen!

YoungGun
post #2 of 15
My wife is Canadian and I went through this with her (to some extent) before we got married. I am not sure that you need an H1-B Visa. I do not think that applies to Canadians. What you need is a TN Visa (and I think that they are much easier to get). What you will have to do is to get employment first, and then bring the letter of employment to the port of entry which should provide you with a 1 year working TN Visa. You will have to repeat this process every year while you are under the same circumstances. Now, I am not 100% sure of all the aspects that the government would require beyond what I said, but I am 99% sure that what you are looking for is a TN and not an H1-B. I do know that getting a TN and getting employment is much easier with that rather than the H1-B. Do some research on that and let us know what happens. I think you will find it is not as gloomy as you might think. Also, I believe that they give special consideration to those that live on border cities (i.e., Windsor to Detroit). Not sure if Vancuver falls under that senario, but worth a try, I think.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

options

Goose,

Thanks for the suggestion but upon looking further into it, I've run into the issue that I am not in the list of qualified professions, that is to say that I don't have a recognized degree. Apparently you have to present that to the border officer in order for him to grant you the TN status. Every profession on that list requires a bachelor's degree, which is what I actually intend to get in the US. Yes, I could get one here in Canada, but in the 4 years it took me to do that I may just as well apply for my Green Card. However, that may be my only option.

:beer:
post #4 of 15
Maybe the grass is just as green on this side....

It will take a tremendous amount of work, patience and and time to be able to work legally in the US, and in the meantime you'll be working here in La-la-land, saving your money to go someplace else.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 15
Ask a Mexican... They have been doing it for years, not as legal as you might want, but.....
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Brian,

The life of an illegal alien is truly not the greatest. Not only do you end up working ridiculously low-paying jobs, but if you injure yourself in any way, you have to think about the possibility of getting deported for going to the hospital. And if you do get deported one way or another, you can't even fly through the US for 3-10 years let alone apply to work legally. Unfortunately the US laws are extremely rigid, and it ends up putting alot of honest and hard-working people in danger.

Thank you for your suggestion but I can't risk it.

YG
post #7 of 15
Young Gun
I too am a Canadian living and working in the US on a green card.
Mine was real easy though because my wife is a US citizen.
Ever consider getting married?

Cat Man
post #8 of 15
I was just kidding man, but if you plan on moving to the America dont forget to learn Spanish.
post #9 of 15
lol@ the learn spanish

I had a smiliar situation in my gaff,

I have Finnish, swedish, polish, czech chefs, KP's and managers.

Some of them didnt even have a visa or ''green'' card

So just asked Citizens advice who put me in touch with a goverment scheme and took about 10 working days.

Can your goverment help you in anyways ?
Insured By The White Mafia, Hit Me And They Hit YOU Harder
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Insured By The White Mafia, Hit Me And They Hit YOU Harder
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post #10 of 15
No offense intended, but why would you want to leave one of the 3 top cities in the world to go to the US? Maybe I'm too patriotic, but I would probably refuse a job in the US if it meant leaving the lower mainland. My suggestion; get your Canadian Red-Seal, join the CCFCC, work your *** off here to get the recognition we all need, then apply for the US Visa and open your own place there.
post #11 of 15
young gun,
i have to agree with jigz. i am not 100% sure but i believe kitchens here(i am in victoria)pay more than in the U.S. and with the olympics i think it will only get better.We also have just as many good institutes for training in the industry. just my two cents.
Line Cooks are the Heros
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Line Cooks are the Heros
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post #12 of 15
"I was just kidding man, but if you plan on moving to the America dont forget to learn Spanish.":lol:
post #13 of 15
Don't you mean "Learn English" If I were to work in Mexico then I would want to learn more "Spanish"
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'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #14 of 15
Actually, you have to have some grasp of spanish to work in just about any resto. here in the states. Alot of dishers and utility workers in the kitchen don't speak english.
post #15 of 15
Actually, you have to have some grasp of spanish to work in just about any resto. here in the states. Alot of dishers and utility workers in the kitchen don't speak english.
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