Canadian living with fear in USA

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 8th, 2020 6:37 pm
Sep 9, 2016
94 posts
Kitchener ON

Canadian living with fear in USA

Hope everyone is coping with the crisis. I have not lost my job yet, but layoffs are happening across industries. I work in here in USA, and live with family. I would like to gather info on what are my options when I lose my job. Because of my visa status (TN), I will be forced to move back to Canada immediately after loss of job. Honestly the prospect of finding a job in my field (manufacturing sector) is not great in Canada, and now a recession looming, I am looking at a long haul of unemployment. My question is in this situation, when I move back to Canada will I be eligible to any EI related unemployment benefits? Before moving to USA about 1.5 years ago, I worked in Canada for about 5 years. Please share your thoughts. Stay safe.
6 replies
Mar 20, 2006
440 posts
I think there is a 60 days or some time frame to find another job for people who lose their job while on TN. Canadians can live in the US for 6 months temporarily without visa. I would check with a lawyer in advance about switching the status just in case if you don’t find another job due to pandemic. Also, I strongly suggest you talk to a lawyer since there may be other possibilities that people here on the forum may not know of (just telling from my own experience).
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 9, 2010
1268 posts
Sorry to hear about your situation OP - I don’t think you’ll be eligible for the new CERB benefit of $2000/month since you were a non-resident of Canada last year. I’m not sure what the rules are around EI either for people who have left the country and returned. It would be worth calling and speaking to them directly to see what aid you have available to you in case the worst happens.

Good luck and stay safe out there.
Oct 5, 2019
235 posts
From what I’ve been reading there is a lot of uncertainty. Premium processing for status change has been paused, which means transferring of a TN in the US may take a long time. Normally Canadians can obtain a new TN by leaving the country and coming back in through customs. But now with the ban on non essential travel that’s unclear too. There doesn’t seem to be clear guidance on what is essential travel and if work (or all types of work) is considered essential.

A lot of uncertainty for sure for those in the US on a non permanent basis. If anyone else know any more info I think it would be helpful for a lot of Canadians down south.
Jr. Member
Feb 8, 2010
168 posts
I don't think you would qualify for anything.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
6130 posts
As far as your status, if your employment is terminated, you have to leave the US within a reasonable amount of time however you can apply for a status change to a tourist visa by mail and, unless it's changed, you can remain in the US until a decision is made. When things do come back to normal and companies start hiring again, I suspect a lot of US citizens will be looking for work so it might hard for a non-resident alien to get hired even if you only require a TN.

I do not believe you'd qualify for any government assistance upon your return to Canada except possibly for welfare. You would not qualify for EI (you must have worked a minimum of 420 to 700 hours (depends on local unemployement rate) during the past year to qualify).
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
2328 posts
New Brunswick
You need to live in the province for a period of time before applying for welfare.