Canadian Professionals Seeking TN Status for Business Analyst Positions

Question: I have a job opportunity in the U.S. for a position as Business Analyst. This occupation is not found in the NAFTA job list. Can I still qualify for a TN visa under a different category?

Answer: A Business Analyst position is often very difficult to classify under one of the NAFTA TN categories. Although there is no specific occupational category under NAFTA for a Business Analyst, these types of positions can involve tasks that may fall under one or more TN classifications. Eligibility will hinge on what the principle job duties are and the nature of those tasks.

For Business Analyst positions where the job duties are consultative in nature and limited to purely a passive, advisory role, then the position may fall under the Management Consultant TN category. Although this category is not occupational specific, it is not without restrictions. An applicant for TN status under this category can only provide advice and make recommendations. The applicant cannot be actively involved in the management of the company. Nor can the applicant actively implement any of his or her suggestions or recommendations. The advice and suggestions must be implemented by others at the company. While the Management Consultant classification is limited with respect to the type of service that may be provided by the TN professional, it is generally not restricted with respect to occupation. For example, a Business Analyst position involving information gathering, market analysis, business case creation, benchmarking, and economic modeling may not fall under any of the specific occupational TN categories such as Accountant or Economist, but may qualify under the Management Consultant category.

Where the job duties of a Business Analyst position go beyond a purely analysis and advisory role, and require active engagement and implementation of proposed solutions, then the Management Consultant TN category would not be the proper TN category for the position. In that situation, the applicant generally must seek a specific TN category that authorizes “active” work. The proposed job duties must also match those typically undertaken by professionals in that particular TN occupational filed. Many times Business Analyst positions involve significant IT work and can be classified under the Computer Systems Analyst TN category. Other times, they call for significant accounting duties and can be classifiable under the Accounting TN category. In some limited situations they may fall under the Economist TN category.

A Canadian Professional Seeking TN Status for a Business Analyst Position will need to find the right TN category for the job offer by examining whether the job is limited to a solely advisory role. If so, then the Management Consultant TN may be a good fit. Otherwise, the applicant will have to try a fit under one of the specific occupational TN classifications such as the Accounting or Economist TN categories. Because the Management Consultant category is often subject to heightened scrutiny, when a Canadian Professional’s prospective job qualifies for either the Management Consultant category or a specific occupational TN, it may be prudent to proceed under the latter category. Individuals with job offers as a Business Analyst should consult the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to see if the duties involved in the prospective job can fall under one of these categories.

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Contact Immigration Attorney Brian D. Zuccaro for answers to your NAFTA TN status questions.