Nearshoring: A guide to global business immigration alternatives in response to Proclamation 10014

By Michelle LePage

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The Administration’s recent clarifications to Proclamation 10014 has disrupted many US based companies’ plans to hire and retain foreign talent. As US employers look for ways to meet their staffing needs, one creative solution is “nearshoring”.

What is nearshoring?

When unable to secure work authorization for a foreign employee in the US, American companies may be able to look to their neighboring countries as a temporary placement location for skilled talent, i.e. “nearshoring”. Canada and Mexico have long been considered immigration friendly and have very accessible immigration programs for skilled workers. Canada especially is known for immigration policies designed to attract skilled talent who will boost the local economy.

Why consider “nearshoring”?

With the new restrictions to accessing H-1B and L-1 visas until December 31, 2020, nearshoring may be able to bridge the gap until employers are able to transfer their H and L population into the US.

If a company’s goal is to ultimately move workers into the US, placing them temporarily in a neighboring country is an effective strategy. If it is not possible to place the workers in the US, at least have them nearby! Short flights, drivability and shared time zones are all attractive benefits of nearshoring key employees.

What is the equivalent “nearshoring” options for those impacted by the Proclamation?

For those who are not able to obtain a new L-1A/L-1B visa, Canada’s Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) and Mexico’s Temporary Residence Visa (TRV) are alternative options. Canada’s requirements are very similar to the L-1, as there must be an affiliate/sponsor office in Canada and the employee must have tenure with the company. In some instances, a Professional Employment Organization (PEO) can be used to co-employ and sponsor the foreigner when there is not a local affiliate office. Mexico on the other hand, does not require a local affiliate office or minimum employee tenure thus the TRV is more easily attainable.

For those who are not able to obtain a new H-1B visa, Canada’s Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit would be an alternative. However, this route does require testing the Canadian market for an equally qualified candidate. The TRV is, again, the alternative in Mexico.

Are there other alternative placement options outside of North America?

If physical proximity to the US is not vital, there are many other countries with immigration friendly programs that could be considered. An employer should first consider countries where they have an affiliate office, as in most circumstances work permits will require local company sponsorship. However, if an employer does not have an office abroad, in some circumstances a Professional Employment Organization (PEO) can be utilized to act as the sponsoring company.

How can we help?

Please contact us for guidance on how to proceed with nearshoring key talent during these times. We provide strategies and in-depth advice on the options available for an employer and their talent.
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