In the days preceding, the onset of the age of information, living in a foreign country was considered to be a luxury, an accomplishment of a milestone in life. It has been a consistent trend, to want to live and work in another country. In poetic terms, it is the proverbial fledgeling taking the leap of faith, out of the nest.
The dynamics of visa sanctions have changed, from its predeceasing practices. There are various avenues in the visa categories that one can pick and select from, basis their situation and convenience. Visas differ on the grounds of age, purpose, investment (if any), educational and work status etc. Some countries offer categories in a visa type; this is true in competitively advanced countries like the United States.
Presently, a person either moves to another country on a work permit or applies for the permanent residential visa, in the majority of the cases. This is a prevalent practice due to the inexpensive process of obtaining a work permit, as compared to a Permanent Residency Visa, in countries like the United States, Canada and Australia.
A Work Permit is a legal document, signed on behalf of personnel by a work sponsor that allows a foreigner to obtain a job in a country and work there legally.
A Permanent Residency Visa is the status of permanent residence, and thereby related benefits, given to a person and his accompanying dependent family, hailing from a foreign country by the immigration department of the country sanctioning the visa.
The temporary work permit has different names in various countries offering work on speciality occupation basis, which is same for permanent resident status too. However, the baseline on which the conditions and clauses of the visa are established, largely remain the same.
In the United States, the temporary work visa is given the code H-1B, whereas in Canada it is referred to as Job/Work Visa. Similarly, the permanent residency status is called the Permanent Resident Visa in Canada and Immigration Visa in USA. Before applying for any, one must stringently go through the official websites for the same, to be aware of all requirements and clauses.
The following is a run-down of all comparative properties between the two types of visa.
1. Scope of Work:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: This permit is received on behalf of a sponsor and hence there is no scope for whimsical change of Job. This also leaves people prone to non-availability of negotiation power and further abuses.
Permanent Residency Visa: A person with a PR Visa has the luxury to change jobs, as and when the need arises, along with the option to pick your city of occupation. Work scope also includes contractual working and tax benefits.
2. In case of lay-off or job change:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: One will need to exit the country in case of lay-offs and dissolution of the company within the few designated days. In case of USA, if already applied for a green card, one can stay in the country jobless for 60 days, until they find a new job.
Permanent Residency Visa: There is no time period constraint in case of a lay-off. A PR Visa holder has the added benefit to look for a new job and enjoy unemployment insurance.
3. Scope for entrepreneurial growth:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: Under this, one cannot branch out and start a business in the country of temporary occupation.
Permanent Residency Visa: PR Visa holders can ideate, invest and commence a business venture after permission from the respective ministry.
4. Benefits to family members:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: There is a no direct sponsorship for spouses; there is a need to find and secure employment and sponsorship, individually.
Permanent Residency Visa: No separate permits or authorization is required in case the spouse also wishes to work. This is true in case of Canada.
5. The question of Citizenship:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: In case of USA, if the green card is not approved within the 6-year limit on the H-1B visa, return to the home country is mandatory.
Permanent Residency Visa: Upon arrival in the country, new immigrants and their families, without hassle, receive a PR Visa. This is especially prevalent upon landing in Canada.
6. Extent of sponsorship:
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: Excess sponsorship is only limited to the spouses and immediate dependent children. Other family members cannot enjoy the benefits of sponsorship.
Permanent Residency Visa: PR holders have the benefit of sponsoring other family members, apart from spouses and children, which includes parents and siblings.
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: This is a lengthy method to receive a green card, and then further the citizenship.
Permanent Residency Visa: Permanent Residents are eligible to apply for citizenship after living in Canada for three years.
Temporary Work Permit & Visa: Work permits often have strict renewal restrictions attached for travels within a particular country and out of country.
Permanent Residency Visa: For PR visa holders, there are no restrictions of movement (exit and entry) within and outside the country of permanent residence.
It is standard for prospective Immigrants to take the student visa route to permanent residence via work permit. Countries like Canada and Australia offer pathways to a work permit post completion of their studies in eligible courses and then in due course apply for permanent residence visa and finally citizenship.
After collective review of the above, a conclusion would be that applying for a Permanent Resident Visa is more opportune and time-friendly as compared to the temporary Work Permit.
The author is president, Abhinav Outsourcings Pvt. Ltd., one of the pioneer and most trusted immigration & visa consultation consultancies in the country. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org