You must have a U.S. employer sponsor you for a green card. With the exception of the EB-1 (extraordinary ability), you cannot get a green card without a U.S. employer wiling to sponsor you.
Canadian citizens currently working for a U.S. employer on a valid work visa may be eligible for a green card if the employer files an employment-based petition. Employment-based petitions are broken down into five classifications: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5. We will limit our discussion to EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 on this page. EB-5 green cards will be discussed at length under the Investor-Based Green Card section.
The wait time for employment-based green card petitions are based on Priority Dates as determined by the Department of State’s monthly Visa Bulletin. This is a method of cross-referencing a beneficiary’s country of birth and the employment-based category to determine whether a visa is currently available and, if not, how long the wait is. An individual born in Canada seeking an employment-based green card is often in a better position compared to citizens of other countries, such as China, India, Mexico or the Philippines. This is because the priority dates for those born in Canada under an EB-1 and EB-2 visas tend to have fewer backlogs, or they may be current – while those born in other countries of changeability are not. If a priority date is current, it means that a visa is available for them immediately.
PERM for EB-2 and EB-3 Green Cards
Employers sponsoring Canadians for EB-2 or EB-3 green cards must undergo a recruiting process known as PERM. The purpose of PERM is for the U.S. employer to first find an available U.S. worker to fill the position. If a qualified U.S. worker applies for the position and is ready and willing to work, then there is no more need to sponsor the Canadian citizen. If the employer cannot find an available U.S. worker after going through the proper recruitment steps, then it can proceed with sponsoring the Canadian citizen.