Reason #1: Job
Unlike temporary permits, permanent residency yields *permanent* job and immigration security. The employer is assuring Canadian employees of intent to keep on the payroll indefinitely. Except for full citizenship, other permits have expiration dates. Immigration does not approve all renewals and there is an automatic top limit on total stay for permits such as the L-1 and H-1. If a job ends, changes or if corporate ownership changes, the work permit can be invalid immediately---even before the expiration! A green card holder can work in any job, anywhere. This includes starting a business, adding a part-time job, or retiring.
Reason #2: Business
Less turnover is good business. The other side of employee’s job security is employer’s stable labor force. The green card is a valuable cost-effective fringe benefit that employers can give Canadian employees. This benefit is crucial for continuity in difficult to fill positions. Perceived and actual benefits to the employer greatly exceed the expense, especially during economic downturns. Costs are less than the expense of employee turnover or a recruiter’s commission. The green card is not usually a “ticket to leave the company”. It produces loyalty. As a bonus, there is less hassle for the employer because green cards eliminate expensive temporary permit renewals.
Reason #3: Family
Green carded Canadian families take root in the U.S. and are secure. The family has U.S. immigration status if a Canadian should pass away or lose a job. Canadians can pass on immigration benefits to certain relatives. Children do not “age out”, and keep green card status when turning 21. This is particularly important for Canadians, who find that children quickly adapt to the similarities in American education, language and culture. Spouses and children can work, without separate employer sponsorship---even before immigration approves the green card. Some life/disability insurance agencies require green cards.
Reason #4: Career
Green cards put most Canadians on equal footing with U.S. employee counterparts. For example, some states require green cards before granting professional licenses. Employers and U.S. government contractors cannot use Canadians on projects requiring certain security clearances without a green card. The same goes for eligibility for government grants and exemption from export restrictions.
Reason #5: Personal Finance
Canadians who stay on temporary permits may miss certain benefits. With similar education systems, there is a marked trend for Canadians to take advantage of U.S. higher education options. In many states, green card holders pay less college tuition. Government financial aid, social security and income taxation benefits may also follow.
Reason #6: Travel
Green card travel liberalizations are particularly useful for Canadians who travel frequently between our neighboring countries. There is no need for passport visas or form I-94 for international travel. Green cards are multiple entry, and do not need frequent renewals, so there are no “renewal period” travel restrictions.
Reason #7: The Future
Escape from the “immigration cul-de-sac”. The green card is a direct optional path to dual Canada/U.S. Citizenship.
Reason #8: House
Home mortgages are easier. Many banks require permanent residency. (Interest is deductible on a U.S. tax return.)
Reason #9: Residence
Flashing a green card gives mobility that modern jobs require. Green card holders can permanently move to the U.S. but do not have to be continuously present in the. This is crucial for Canadians, who often want to commute to the U.S. It also helps those who must work in Canadian affiliates from time to time. In fact, Canadians can actually have a “Commuter Green Card,” without a U.S. residence requirement. In addition, unlike some temporary workers, green carders have no geographical restrictions.
Reason #10: Freedom
Green card status produces unexpected miscellaneous benefits. Green Card holders can contribute in connection with State and Federal Elections. Other foreign nationals may not. In addition, Green carders have most of the myriad rights afforded U.S. citizens.
Joseph C. Grasmick
Lawyer, Business Immigration for Canadians
300 International Dr
Williamsville, NY 14221
Author, "TN Handbook for Canadians": http://www.grasmick.com/handbook.htm
Answered By: Joseph C. Grasmick - 4/16/2010