Help! Canadian seeking next job in US but visas are a dealbreaker

Hi Everyone,

TLDR: As a Canadian, I can't seem to find a US based job because no one is willing to offer sponsorship. Any advice?

I'm looking for my next BD/sales job and am motivated to work with a US based company. I've done this before (via TN visas, which are usually "easier" for Canadians to access than H-visas, etc) but this time around, even the big companies are balking at the idea of sponsorship.

I know there are other routes into the US like transfering in through a Canadian office, getting an O visa, etc. I've been asked, "why not stay in Canada?" -- I love Canada but the jobs here are limited, even at the Canadian offices of US companies that are fact, some have told me that the only way into the company is through a US based role. I feel that the growth potential just isn't in Canada.

I know part of this visa problem is a political/regulatory one. But does anyone have advice around how I can find a US based job? I've been relentlessly networking but constantly hit a wall. I'm feeling really stuck and that I cannot even consider the US an option anymore.

maddogS's profile thumbnail
Sorry friend, this is tricky. What I have seen is once you get a TN and are in the states... you can much easily get another TN gig. The main trick is to not have this be the barrier before they even talk to you.So one strategy is to focus on jobs that do provide a TN first then go from there. Or if you are very committed to a US based role just move there on a long tourist visa first (valid for upto 6 month). The reason a lot of US based companies don't want to sponsor visas is because new "remote work" experiment showed them it's possible and they get to pay much lower Canadian level comp.When I was between jobs in the states I got a TN from a non-profit I was helping (not full time, I was paid a small amount as an honorarium but it could be considered a contract), I had to back to Canada and fly in again to get a new TN so I can keep job search in the states and all the non-profit had to do was write a letter... As long as the letter states specific facts and nothing else looks fishy the fact that you had a TN before makes this more likely. All it costs is 1 flight or 1 drive to the boarder. You do not need to be working full time for a TN you can also consider self-employment TN. You can even draft a copy of the TN sponsorship letter (find a template online or pay a bit for a law firm that specializes in TNs) with all the correct info and just have your potential TN sponsor sign it, especially if they are small and worried about cost / logistics. Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary because I am in a programming type of role / have a technical degree.Best of luck!
Thanks for this! I'm less worried about having the TN for the job search as either way the new company I work for will need to sponsor me.I also debate covering the costs for TN myself. I think about this as an option...though if the company isn't willing to sponsor me, I figure they don't really want me that badly, so this is probably not a great fit.
maddogS's profile thumbnail
+1 Sometimes they filter you out due to potential visa risk before they even talk to you even if it would have been a great fit. This is more about moving the TN / Visa conversation later in the game... if by then they are not willing to pay for the (relatively low) fee or sign a letter... 100% not a good fit... : ) Currently having a TN / being in the states de-risks it for them to maybe start the interview process. It can cost a few thousand dollars by the time a candidate get close to the offer stage of the interview process, this makes sunk cost fallacy work in your favor : )(It works similarly for other jobs that require a certain degree even if it doesn't really apply day to day. Just a quick cheap filter up front to quickly de-risk the applicant pool : )As a fellow canuk, I wish you success!
Makes sense. Thanks :)
JenRose's profile thumbnail
My US company hires in Canada and we have some BDR and sales roles open. I can’t message you since you posted anonymously. So if you want to message me with your LinkedIn, I could take a look and see if I could refer you, and I could share the role description and see if you’re interested, etc.
Thanks so much! I'll keep this in mind.Do you find that cross border employees often transfer into your US offices? I'm curious how common this happens. I'd love to not only work with a US company in Canada, but actually be in the US too, if possible :)