17. My company feels that a Green Card is a
passport to leave and are "sitting on the fence" as far as
helping me. What can I do?(From
FAQ Part II-Frequently Asked Questions: Canada to U.S.
Immigration for Businesses and Professionals
ANSWER: We advise our clients---both employers and
employees---that if an employee is chained to a company via a temporary
work permit, there is something wrong with the relationship. They should
get on with the green card, and focus on other aspects of the
On the other hand, there may be other reasons the employer
is delaying. Perhaps they are operating under incorrect assumptions or
fears of the process...or just, inertia? Perhaps they think they have
plenty of time, and do not realize that processing times for labor
certifications are increasing exponentially?
Yes, you are free to leave the company if you have a green
- The green card is a valuable fringe benefit that
employers can confer on employees. Although it may seem expensive,
the perceived and actual benefits to you greatly exceed the expense to
- There is less hassle for the employer. The
employer can eliminate the expense of renewing temporary permits by
getting permanent status.
- There is a top limit on L-1's. The employer may
wait until it is too late, and then be without your services entirely.
- When an employer does not sponsor the employee, that
employee then has powerful incentive to find another employer who will
sponsor you. This is particularly crucial in positions that aren't
easy to fill.
- If your corporate ownership structure changes, your
temporary permit could become invalid. By getting you a green card,
the employer does not have to worry about any changes in the corporate
structure or in your job description.
- Your employer cannot use you on projects requiring
certain security clearances without your green card. The U.S.
government requires this for many of it's contractors.
- Creative arrangements can minimize employer risk.
You can give some kind of commitment or guarantee that you will stay with the
organization for a particular period of time. Negotiate a longevity bonus in
your compensation plan with an incentive to stay with the company. Perhaps you
can commit to reimbursing the company for the cost of immigration/legal
expenses if you leave the firm within 18 months of receiving your green card.
Be creative. Make sure that it is a reasonable proposal, and be sure that it
overcomes their fears. (Thanks to John Chettleburgh for this idea.)
Perhaps you can show the above list to your employer?
By the way, here are some advantages to you personally:
- Financial security for you: Your spouse and
children can normally obtain permanent residency with work permission,
without separate employer sponsorship.
- Security for family: family has U.S. immigration
status if you should pass away or lose job.
- Benefits to relatives: You can pass on
immigration benefits to certain relatives.
- Pay resident tuition. In many states, green card
holders pay less tuition for College and University. In some cases,
savings are considerable---thousands of dollars a year.
- Adult children can stay in U.S. If children have
their green cards they can live, study and work in the U.S. after turning 21.
Otherwise they will have to get student visas to study and work visas to work.
They will not be able to reside with you as U.S. residents.
- Eligibility for life insurance. Our clients
report that some insurance agencies require green cards.
- Obtain professional license and credentials. Some
states require green cards before granting professional licenses.
- Eligibility for full citizenship: After a waiting
period, you can apply for U.S. citizenship. (Note: you do not have
to take out citizenship---you can be a permanent resident forever.) Dual
citizenship is also possible. You need not give up your present
- Ease in travel: No need for U.S. passport visas or
form I-94 for international travel. An end to restrictions on travel,
when renewals are pending---there are no renewals required for green
- Immunity against future changes in immigration rules,
that could hurt your temporary permit.
- Access to security clearances, eligibility for
government grants and exemption from export restrictions.
- Legal rights: More rights under U.S. law.
- Tax benefits: Possible income
taxation benefit to permanent resident who may be taxed as "non-resident"
in home country. (Contact a tax advisor for
- Freedom in choosing place of residence: Green
card holders can permanently move to the U.S. On the other hand, it
is not necessary to be continuously present in the U.S. (You and
other readers can request an E-mail report on Returning Residents.)
- Home purchase: Mortgages may be easier to get.
Many banks require permanent residency or other long-term visa,
before granting mortgage. Take advantage of U.S. tax benefits of
home mortgage payments.
- Political campaign contributions. Green Card
olders can make contributions in connection with State and Federal Elections.
Other foreign nationals may not.
Consider using the resources of our
firm to assist you in educating your employer.
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