Much has been said about the Management Consultant TN category, some classify it as the most difficult to obtain. In this installment of the TN Visa coverage, we will go over what it takes to be a Management Consultant for a company.
The Management Consultant is a great way to work with almost any company, since companies are constantly seeking consultations on how to best manage their business. The Management Consultant is perfect for the professional who has a lot of experience working for different types of businesses or just one business. It is a great position for a person who wants to help a fledgling company increase their revenue, or for a well-established company seeking new ways to generate more revenue. If you have a background in Physics, you can be a Management Consultant. If you have a background in Engineering, you can be a Management Consultant. If you have a background in Internet Marketing, Public Relations, or Social Media even, you can be a Management Consultant. The Management Consultant is the most versatile TN position available. However, there are a few parts of the Management Consultant TN visa that must be addressed before applying as one.
What it means to be a Management Consultant
Although there are no guidelines under the provisions that govern the TN visa, the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor offers some guidance on what a Management Consultant is expected to do. In essence, the Management Consultant is expected to analyze and propose ways to improve an organization's structure, efficiency, or profits. They are required to collect, review, and analyze information in order to make recommendations to the managers of a company.
The Management Consultant must first define the nature and extent of the problem that they have been asked to solve. This is usually outlined in the job duties provided by the company in need of a Management Consultant. During their employment, the consultant will analyze relevant data—which may include annual revenues, employment, or expenditures—and interview managers and employees while observing their operations.
The consultants then develop solutions to the problem. While preparing their recommendations, they take into account the nature of the organization, the relationship it has with others in the industry, and its internal organization and culture. Insight into the problem often is gained by building and solving mathematical models, such as one that shows how inventory levels affect costs and product delivery times. Once the Management Consultant has decided on a course of action, they report their findings and recommendations to the client.
Their suggestions usually are submitted in writing, but oral presentations regarding findings are also common. For some projects, management analysts are retained to help implement their suggestions.
In addition to the Management Consultant’s role with the company, the consultant can work for a variety of different types of companies.
A Management Consultant could be needed for a small company trying to improve its efficiency in some areas. A consultant could be needed for a large company that just opened a new division and therefore need to reorganize and restructure the jobs within the company. The consultant could come in to help a company enter a new market with its products, or help the company remain competitive within the market it currently competes in. Management Consultants also work for private and public organizations.
Statements of Experience
Under Appendix 1603.D.1 of the TN visa, the employee applying for this visa may either show they are a Management Consultant with a bachelor’s degree in the related profession, or by showing the equivalent professional experience, as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant.
Now statements attesting to the five years experience can be offered through one or multiple individuals. If you worked in a management position for one company for several years, you could get a statement attesting to your consulting experience from that one company. If you worked at several places over the years, you can get statements attesting to your management consulting experience as well. So long as the statements add up to at least 5 years of management consulting experience, this requirement will be met for the position.
In addition to having a well outlined consulting position in statements verifying one’s consulting experience, a consulting agreement is also required when applying for the TN Visa. Because consulting positions are paid at an hourly rate, the consulting agreement will outline the agreement terms, compensation, confidential information provisions, privacy provisions, warranties, indemnification, and liability limits between the company and the consultant. It is used to demonstrate the nature of the consulting position to the immigration officer in that the consultant is not an employee of the company. Although a company may choose to put the Consultant on payroll and handle taxes as the two parties agree, the Consulting Agreement still shows how the Management Consultant is ultimately an independent contractor.
Period of Consultation
It is generally recommended that a Management Consultant position should last no more than one to two years. That means the duration of this TN Visa is shorter than what is allowable under the TN Visa provisions. The reason behind having a consultation agreement for one or two years is to ensure that the consulting job is for a reasonable time. The longer the consulting agreement lasts, the greater the justification for the need of a consultant for such a long period of time.
Having a Managing Consultant for three years could raise the suspicions of the immigration officer for company’s need to keep an independent consultant around for such a long period. This does not mean that the consulting position will only last one or two years. In fact, the consulting position could last longer since the TN Visa is renewable. This is an important consideration when trying to find a position as a Management Consultant.
In short, the versatility of the Management Consultant position is great for getting a TN work visa in the U.S. Its open-ended requirements regarding education and work experience make working within any particular market as a consultant a fairly simple process. Having the right lawyer capable of using your work experience to meet NAFTA requirements as a Management Consultant is also important to ensure that you secure your position. Feel free to email us with any questions.