TN Visa for Economist

TN Visa for Economist

  • Applicant: Mr. Huang
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Case Type: TN Visa 
  • Time: 1 Hour
  • Challenges:
    • Client initially appeared unqualified for economist position.
    • Petitioner’s application showed his position didn’t qualify for TN status.
    • Petitioner’s legal counsel had no experience in immigration law.
    • Application had to be completed within a week.
    • Client had difficulty finding an immigration attorney willing to take the case.


Mr. Huang, a Canadian, hung up his phone in disgust. Once again, an immigration law firm had refused to take his case and his immigration paperwork needed to be completed in a week. Just a few days earlier, the 25-year-old University of Chicago graduate believed his life was on a beautiful path. A highly respected property development company, Greenerside Properties, had offered him a job as an Economist. The Vice-President of Greenerside wrote a letter on his behalf to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so Mr. Huang could get a work visa under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) TN agreement. NAFTA TN nonimmigrant status allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the U.S. to engage in specific professional activities, such as Economist. Unfortunately, Greenerside executives had written the offer for Mr. Huang to become a Market Analyst – a position that is not covered under NAFTA TN. All parties involved understood that if they continued on the path they’d started; a denial of the visa petition was virtually guaranteed. Although Greenerside had in-house counsel, they had little experience in immigration law. They advised Mr. Huang to find outside help. Fortunately, he contacted the immigration law experts at Tsang and Associates.



Tsang and Associates offer a free, in-person, 15-minute consultation with a refundable $50 deposit. It’s the firm’s belief that face-to-face interaction is worthwhile for both parties, and they enjoy taking the time to meet potential clients personally. The key benefits to consultation include 1) Confidentiality of your case’s circumstances and future 2) Key insight from trusted attorneys regarding how they would handle the case 3) Provide an opportunity for the potential client to ask any questions regarding their case or legal situation 4) Drafting a strategy based upon successful case studies 5) Providing a full picture of the case and a blueprint for moving ahead successfully 6) Offering to transfer the deposit to the case once the firm has been retained,

Following the initial consultation with Mr. Huang, Tsang and Associates were confident they could provide a roadmap to success. On a conference call, Tsang and Associates gathered all the stakeholders, including Mr. Huang, Greenerside Human Resources, and their legal team. Tsang and Associates laid out a blueprint and concrete steps to be taken by Mr. Huang and Greenerside.

For many years the NAFTA TN agreement didn’t clearly define the position of Economist. The result was an inconsistent ruling by the USCIS on whether certain analysts and financial professionals should qualify for TN status. As of 2017, a policy update clarified that TN status would be granted for employees whose work responsibilities align only with that of an economist. In other words, individuals who work as financial analysts, marketing analysts, and market research analysts are not eligible for classification as a TN. Unfortunately, Mr. Huang’s resume showed he had more of the latter experience and not that of an economist.

The key component for a successful petition for TN status involved finessing Mr. Huang’s resume to reflect an economist’s experience. Immigration law requirements are not fluid when it involves job duties and responsibilities. Mr. Huang’s experience needed to fit comfortably under the Economist rubric.

As part of the application package, the Greenerside would need to address anticipated concerns of the USCIS case officer: why is the petitioner uniquely qualified for the position, does he have the educational requirements, does he have the experience to benefit the company, and what will his job responsibilities be? Those answers must fit within the job responsibilities of an economist. Additionally, Mr. Huang needed to be thoroughly prepped with the correct responses in a face-to-face interview.



Following a successful interview, Mr. Huang was granted NAFTA TN status as an economist. An unforeseen benefit to the Tsang and Associates blueprint; Mr. Huang received a higher salary than initially offered. Turned out, in order for Greenerside to legitimize their hiring of an economist, they had to offer a higher salary commensurate with the position. In the end, Mr. Huang got the job he wanted and Greenerside got the employee they needed. Mr. Huang was grateful to have found a company like Tsang & Associates who had worked so hard to help him accomplish his goals. Tsang and Associates is happy to have provided such a large benefit for such a small consultation fee.