Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Canadian Retiree Visa – Start Writing and Calling NOW!

Before the weekend, I asked around DC, both in Congress and in the special interest organizations, about the Canadian retiree visa. Capitol Hill is focusing on comprehensive immigration reform. At this early stage, I don’t think any particular item on anyone’s immigration agenda has been ruled out, though some items are considered “in” and non-negotiable (boy, are they in for a surprise. EVERYTHING is negotiable.)

There is cause for optimism regarding a Canadian retiree visa. Senator Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, sponsored two Canadian retiree visa bills during the last session; so the concept of a retiree visa is likely to be part of the discussion on immigration reform. However, because the focus is on a reform package, forget about a standalone bill favoring  Canadian retirees in this legislative session.

Because it only benefits one country, some on Capitol Hill see the Canadian retiree visa as an item to be negotiated away (with other nonessential items) in exchange for concessions. Because of the lack of effort on the part of Senators and Representatives regarding the Canadian retiree bills during the last session, I have to wonder whether that was the intention of the bills' co-signers all along. Were the 2012 Canadian retiree visa bills just items to be added to a legislative goodie bag to be negotiated away in 2013?

Maybe so, but the idea of a Canadian retiree visa has great merit! If enough individuals and organizations start talking-up the Canadian retiree visa (and soon!), the retiree visa might make it into an immigration reform package. But that requires effort, effort by individuals and organizations who matter to Senators and Representatives. 

Write and call organizations in the US travel industry, US real estate industry, and your local chamber of commerce in the US. Urge organizations to do more than take a stand in a press release. Press releases inform organization members but do little to sway Congress. Organizations need to get on the phone and call (or better yet, MEET) the Senators and Representatives on the Senate and House subcommittees on immigration.

Keep in mind that Senators and Representatives care about getting reelected. They are certainly polite to everyone (almost everyone) but they don’t attach much value to individuals who don’t vote nor to organizations that represent people who don’t vote unless the organizations have something to offer (sorry, I don't mean to be offensive but that's the way it is). 

If you vote in the US, call or write your Senators and Representatives, as well as the members of the Senate and House subcommittees on immigration.
If you do not vote in the US, you probably know people who do. Ask them to write or call their Senators, Representatives, and the subcommittees!

Let the people in Washington know that the Canadian retiree visa is important to you and to the US!