Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a Canadian or Mexican citizen who seeks temporary entry into the United States to work for a US company may do so with a TN Visa.
The applicant seeking classification as a TN must demonstrate business activity at a professional level in one of the enumerated professions or occupations (listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603, set forth at 8 CFR 214.6(c)).
Canadian or Mexican citizens may qualify as management consultants by holding a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree or by having five years of experience in a specialty related to the consulting assignment.
Management consultants provide services directed toward improving the managerial, operating, and economic performance of businesses by analyzing and resolving strategic and operating problems. Management consultants can work as either independent contractors for the sponsoring organization or as employees, if the sponsoring organization provides its clients with consulting services.
The Management Consultant occupational category is one of the most highly scrutinized professional categories under NAFTA.
The reason for the high scrutiny is due to a wide variety of issues, mostly related to the requirements of the category and abstract nature of the occupation. Further complicating the category is the issue of whether the individual is coming in to work as an independent contractor or an employee.
Either setup is fine, under the right circumstances.
Management consultant TN Visa as an “independent contractor”
Management consultants seeking entry into the US to work for a US entity as an independent contractor may be engaged with a variety of business types in the US and may be enlisted for a number of reasons aimed at taking advantage of the applicant’s specialized expertise.
This kind of management consultant should NOT be a regular, full-time employee of the hiring organization, but rather an independent contractor who enters into a formal consulting agreement with the entity in need of his or her services. Border agents will scrutinize or deny independent contractor management consultants where it appears their role is really that of an employee performing normal employee functions within the company.
Management consultant TN Visa as an “employee”
A management consultant in the TN status may work as an employee for a US employer if the management consultant will be providing consulting services to the US employer’s clients. Most of the time, this setup involves a US employer that primarily focuses on consulting.
This option allows a TN applicant to temporarily fill a permanent position with an employer as a consultant to provide consulting services directly to the employer’s clients. Oftentimes, the employer in this scenario will have numerous employees employed as consultants.
Lightman Law Firm was recently honored as New York’s 2014 Immigration Law Firm of the Yearby Acquisition International. Additionally, founding attorney, Douglas Lightman, was named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers.com. Lightman Law Firm also carries a 4.9 rating on Google Reviews.