Mexico City – September 2023 – A reminder that citizenship matters
Last month I attended an Immigration Conference in Mexico City. It was organized by Buffalo immigration lawyer Joe Grasmick and focussed on the USMCA, CUSMA (formerly called the NAFTA Free Trade Immigration Visa- TN Visa). The conference highlighted the opportunities available to citizens of Canada, Mexico and the USA to live in any one of these three countries performing certain professional services for which they are qualified.
In a nutshell the “Free Trade Immigration” visa is an opportunity for:
1. Citizens of the United States, Canada and/or Mexico who have the status of being certain kinds of professionals (who they are and their professional qualfications); to accept
2. Certain kinds of employment (what will they actually be doing).
The devil is certainly in the details. Immigration under the “Free Trade Professional” category has its own nuances. It is certainly more difficult than it appears (and is described).
The conference was a “sobering” reminder that “citizenship matters”!
You can see the complete twitter thread here.
A recent post describes how various Canadian Underused and Vacant property taxes might apply to unsuspecting U.S. residents (Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa) and U.S. citizens (Canada’s Underused Property Tax).
Taxes that apply to ALL owners of property
The Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa taxes apply to ALL owners (regardless of citizenship or residence) of residential property. Although these taxes apply to all owners, some U.S. citizen/residents have argued that they are disguised taxes on being American. The broad scope of these taxes makes them difficult to challenge.
Taxes that apply to property owners based on citizenship or immigration status
Interestingly Canada’s Underused Property Tax, by its express terms applies based on “citizenship” and/or “immigration status”. Specifically, it applies to people who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of Canada. In the same way that the United States imposes taxes on people based on and only on the status of being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States (Green Card holder), Canada’s Underused Vacant Property Tax is based on NOT being a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Significantly, certain provincial human rights codes (presumptively) prohibit discrimination based on citizenship. The first case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada (Andrews) interpreting S.15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights struck down a British Columbia statute requiring Canadian citizenship to practise law in British Columbia. In 1974 – In Re Griffiths – the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar Connecticut provision requiring U.S. citizenship to be admitted to the bar in Connecticut. In the United States, classifications based on citizenship/alienage are “suspect classifications” and presumptively unconstitutional. Canada’s laws and judicial decisions are generally hostile to classifications based on citizenship.
To be clear: classifications based on citizenship clearly attract judicial scrutiny!