Aware of eligibility criteria for most TN jobs in US?



For citizens of Canada and Mexico who are coming to work in the U.S. in specific professional positions the TN visa categories are reserved.  A professional job is generally described within the immigration context as a job requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent college-level education. This remains true for the TN visa category.

For the TN status eligibility both the occupational classifications and educational and / or professional requirements for each position are specified in the NAFTA agreement. A primary requirement of at least a college-level (Bachelor’s) degree is a must for all jobs listed in the Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA agreement with exception of the Scientific Technician/Technologist, Psychologist, and Registered Nurse jobs. Instead they require a state and /or provincial license for which a level of college education is required.

Alternative requirements to the Bachelor’s degree for several TN jobs are also listed in the NAFTA agreement. So instead of a formal degree a prospective applicant could have acquired some college-level education plus professional experience too. To determine if the prospective applicant qualifies for TN status employers should carefully review the requirements for the intended TN job category.

Particular Job Categories Issues

Due to additional licensing, certification, or practical considerations there are certain TN visa job classifications that can become particularly complex while applying using INS forms. For hiring a Canadian or Mexican citizen to work in one of these categories a U.S. employer is advised to take guidance from an experienced immigration attorney. Some of the issues are summarized as follows:

Physicians – A TN Physician cannot participate in residencies, internships, or direct patient care even if he/she is graduated from the best U.S. medical school. The job duties restriction to only teaching and/or research activities should be mentioned in the U.S. job offer letter.

Scientific Technician/Technologist – Use of scientific principles, research and development, and/or scientific observations and calculations are involved in this position and direct support to a professional in one of the sciences by the U.S. job is a must to qualify. The supervising professional managing, coordinating, and reviewing the work of the TN Scientific Technician/ Technologies and the TN employee’s activities providing input to the supervising professional’s own work, both the positions need to be interrelated. TN status employee does not qualify to perform maintenance of scientific technology after it has been installed.

Health Care Workers – Additional licensing and certification are required for all non-immigrant health care workers including TN employees. They must

1.         Document that like any other U.S. health care worker they have same level of foreign education or experience.

2.         Pass competency exam in English language which is nationally recognized and

3.         Pass a specific profession licensing examination recognized by majority of states.

Nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and medical technologists come under this category in the TN context and regardless of where the health care worker received his or her medical training they need to meet above requirements.

Job requirements outlined in the NAFTA agreement are very complex and so U.S. companies are advised to seek the guidance of an experience immigration attorney when they sponsor Canadian or Mexican for TN visa in the occupations of Physicians, Scientific Technicians/Technologists, Nurses, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and Medical Technologists.



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