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Immigration and How to Establish Residency in the United States

Updated on April 7, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is an award-winning Employment & Training pro with regional records and tens of thousands placed into gainful employment.

Immigrants coming to Ellis Island, New York in 1911.
Immigrants coming to Ellis Island, New York in 1911. | Source

Visa Applications Overwhelm America

From 2012 through 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported reaching its limit of 85,000 H1-B Visa applications in only five days after opening each new application period.

Americans receive many questions about information for Canadian and other international residents about these related topics:

Why are so many people finding it attractive to attempt immigration to the United States?

American Immigration Reform

Are More H-1B Visas Issued than Jobs Available to be Filled?

First, it is important to know that some countries are experiencing wide-scale relocation of residents to other countries for a variety of reasons. These reasons may include unfriendly economic conditions, lack of room, resources, and jobs; and even war.

Countries that reported such increased egress in 2007 as compared with 2005 include the following list of nations, but makes a list that is not all-inclusive. The figures are changing daily.

  • Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Iran,
  • Japan (very high in the last 6 months of 2007),
  • Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam.

In addition to these numbers, undocumented Hispanics from Mexico in the US are estimated to be 30,000,000 individuals. However, the population of Mexico increased from 103,263,388 in 2005 to 108,700,891 in 2007; evidence of its being the most populated of any Spanish-speaking nation in the world.

Why did so many Mexican citizens and residents flee to the US?-- Largely to increase their standard of living and send money back home to relatives is the best estimate made by social services, religious, and government entities, as well as the media..

Of particular interest to American, statistics concerning the Mexican national populations can be found at National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics and the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples is located at Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas in Spanish only.

Ellis Island immigration intake building.
Ellis Island immigration intake building.

Controlling a Nationality Mix for the United States

Restaurants and other businesses have what is known as a product mix, a menu of items and the calculation of how many of each one is sold weekly. In America, we seem to have a particular nationality mix being formulated and balanced, governed by the US Immigration Department in the since 2000s.

Only 50,000 Green Cards for permanent residency are issued by the US yearly and most have been issued to nationals of certain countries, although others are now given a chance through the Green Card Lottery (diversity) program..

The Federal Government of the United States decided that the US was becoming overpopulated around the turn of the century (circa 2001). Hence, immigration quotas were designed to facilitate immigration of citizens from only countries that had not previously received a large number of Green Cards in America in recent years. These quotas are adjusted annually, resulting in a list of countries that are "ineligible" -- In other words, a person born in one of the countries on any current yearly list may not participate in the Green Card Lottery for that year.

The 18 Ineligible Countries for the Green Card Lottery in 2008 - 2018, for example, make the following list. Note the bolded entries, which are countries that have logged the highest emigrations from their countries recently:

  • Brazil, Canada, China (Mainland Only),
  • Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
  • Haiti, India, Jamaica
  • Mexico - partially because of current undocumented immigration to USA.
  • Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland,
  • Russia,
  • South Korea, United Kingdom (and its Dependent Territories) - Ireland & Northern Ireland are still eligible countries; Vietnam.

Temporary Work Visas and Green Cards

It may be possible to work on a temporary emloyment-based visa while waiting for Canada to come off the list of prohibited countries for Green Card issuance. Temporary residency is achieved for you by the employer filing Form I-129 at a cost of $320.00. The end of a successful process is a H-1B visa for temporary residence to work for a limited number of years. Meanwhile, Canada may or may not be removed from the "ineligible" list during those limited years.

For immigration (permanent residency) by employment, most jobs require the employer to fill out a labor certification request Form ETA 750 for you for the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Labor will then either acceopt or reject it. Qualified alien physicians do not have to go through this proccess. A major concern in nonimmigrant or immigrant work is that the employer needs to prove that no qualified workers in the US and/or the area where the business is located exist to fill the job. This can be difficult and an attorney can clear up any confusion. However, a substantial number of companies sponsor termporary residents into the country on a H-1B visa.

In order to work in the US, the employer must then fill out Form I-140 (at a cost of $475.00), Petition for Alien Worker at a US Customs and Immigration Service Center for you. For Eb-3 and EB-4. an employer must fill out Form I-360 (cost = $375.00). In each of these cases, you must have contacted the employer and established a relationship with him/her/them.

The US State Department must give the Canadian (if eligible that year) or other applicant an immigrant visa number. If you are already in the US, you must apply for permanent resident status (Green Card) only after a visa number is given to you. If outside the US when the number is assigned, you will be notified to finish the process at your local consulate office of the USA.

Non-Immigrant Works with Visas in the USA

The Green Card

There are four types of of Green Card permanent residency based on employment in the USA:

EB-1 Priority Workers

  • Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability (has won major prizes) in only certain fields. This includes Arts, Athletics, Business, Education, or Sciences. Arts - This might include TV's Craig Ferguson, originally from Scotland.
  • Foreign nationals that are outstanding professors or researchers. This would most likley include published individuals that are award winners, and recipients of large grants for research.
  • Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the US by their companies.

EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability

  • Foreign nationals of exceptional ability (prize winners, etc.) in arts, business, sciences.
  • Foreign nationals with advanced degrees (eg., PhDs in areas needed by the USA).
  • Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the underserved US (Appalachia, inner cities, West Virginia, isolated rural areas).

EB-3 Skilled or Professional workers

  • Foreign national professionals holding bachelor's degrees (not qualified under EB-1 or EB-2)
  • Foreign national skilled workers (at least two years training and successful work experience).
  • Foreign national unskilled workers (in high demand fields).

EB-4 Special Immigrants

  • Foreign nationals that are religious workers
  • Employees and former employees of the US Federal Government abroad.

Best Course of Action

Some Canadians may be able to enter the USA to work as Temporary Residents on a H1B visa and be able to work and wait until Canada comes off the Green Card Lottery "ineligible" list.

My advise is to apply to a US employer in the major city from the Top 25 mentioned above that may interest you, and perhaps offer to reimburse the employer for the I-129 form filing fees. In order to ensure that that is legal, I advise a consultation with an immigration attorney, who may provide a free initial consultation. I do not know whether reimbursing the employer for the fees might be illegal or not -- Is it "job purchasing" and is that illegal? Is it an illegal bribe? Immigration is a more complex issue since 9/11 and needs an immigration attorney's expertise.

Beware of sources that sell expensive information over the Internet about immigration. Consulting an attorney may be much more productive.

Best wishes to all that would like to come to America!

Craig Ferguson Takes the US Citizenship Test

© 2008 Patty Inglish

Comments and Experiences

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    • profile image

      francisid 6 years ago

      Thank you and kudos for a very great hub.Immigration needs not be hard if immigrants would be following the rules. And besides,if they seek information from hubs like yours,securing visas need not be causing them headaches.Again,well done!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It's the least I can do. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thx, Patty! I appreciate it.

      By the way, a hub thumbs up, Stumble thumb, and google vote for you!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      My pleasure! - I think dual citizenship could be very much fun. Will keep all eyes peeled for job openings for you while you write the award winning book. :).

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, Patty!  You said a few days, I think you meant a few hours!  Thank-you for this so much.

      I was hoping something had magically changed and made it easier, but alas it doesn't seem that way.  I found that video with the immigration lawyer very interesting, and when/if the time comes I think I will check him out.

      Actually SweetiePie, it's AZ I wanna be.  Unfortunately, I'm not a teacher.

      It's not really the change of citizenship that I crave, although I think dual would be neat.  I just want to be able to legally live and work there.  By the sounds of things, I need to hurry up and write a best selling, prize winning novel.  When I last checked the 'allowed professions' list, cow scientists are allowed....maybe it's time for me to switch careers. 

      Barring that, please let me know if you hear of any publishers or promotional products distributors that are in need of a good Canadian.  :)

      Patty, such an excellent hub, thank-you!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      SweetiePie - Thanks for that firsthand knowledge; it is sure to help someone that wants to come to America.

      solarcaptian - Thanks for the kind words. Practice is one key to creating good Hubs, along with knowing how to find accurate information.

    • solarcaptain profile image

      mike king 9 years ago from california

      I can see why I see your name everywhere om hub pages. Your presentation is top notch and I ll be following your blogs a little closer. It makes me realize the difference between a professional and a wanna be.

      thanks, you make some contribution!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Very comprehensive hub and great job!  I happen to know that those who are highly qualified teachers, or even those who have a bachelor's degree, are often hired to teach in isolated place such as Needles, Blythe, and towns in Arizona.   Very few Americans are willing to teach out in these hot climates and I even heard about principals in isolated desert towns recruiting teachers in Spain and other countries to come and look into these opportunities.  These may not be the ideal locations to live and work, but if someone really wants to move to the US and is willing to put in a few years this may be the ideal situation.  The same goes for doctors and other professionals.