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Immigration and How to Establish Residency in the United States

Updated on May 7, 2023
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

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

Immigration Rules Change Almost Yearly

Immigration into the U.S. feels complex to many international peoples because of the frequent changes in related rules and regulations. This was particularly evident during the year 2020.

A global new-coronavirus pandemic began spreading in late 2019 and by early 2020, blame was placed on Wuhan, China's wet markets and/or scientific laboratories nearby. Whatever the origin in mainland China of COV-SARS2, the Trump Administration placed restrictions on travel between America and China. However, before this, the administration placed a lockdown on travel into the U.S. from several Muslim-majority nations.

In addition, the number of international persons allowed into America from 2016 through 2020 was severely slashed. Rule changes were dramatic from 2016 through 2020.

The Biden/Harris Administration of 2021 sought to rescind some of the previous administration's strictures.

Visa Applications: America, UK and Canada

From 2012 through 2017, the U.S. 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.

From 2017 through 2020, the one-term Trump Administration limited immigration into the U.S.A. to only a few thousand people yearly, with total bans on those from most majority-Muslim countries. Some of these bans were lifted from 2021 through 2024.

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

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

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

Why is it Attractive to Attempt U.S. Immigration?

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 U.S. Nationality Mix

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 U.S. Immigration Department.

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

The federal government decided that America 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 now adjusted annually, resulting in a list of countries that are "ineligible." In other words, a person born in one of those countries may not participate in the Green Card Lottery for that year.

The 18 Ineligible Countries for the Green Card Lottery in the 2020s 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, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom and its Dependent Territories (Ireland & Northern Ireland are OK), Vietnam.

In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin to Charles Darwin, named a new “science” for human evolution: Eugenics. During the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in America, it was used to allow only the "best" individuals to immigrate into America and/or to be awarded the same rights as White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPS) have had in life and the workplace.

Temporary Work Visas and Green Cards

It may be possible to work on a temporary employment-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 U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Labor will then either accept or reject it. Qualified alien physicians do not have to go through this process.

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 confusion. However, a substantial number of companies sponsor temporary residents into the country on a H-1B visa.

Non-Immigrant Works with Visas in the USA

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.

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.
  • Foreign nationals that are outstanding professors or researchers. This would most likely 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


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


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