Impasse and immigration?

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Taranis_24, Feb 10, 2005.

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  1. Taranis_24

    Taranis_24 Registered User

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    I understand the immigration laws in the U.S. and Canada prevent both countries from using Europeans/Russians or other foreign players as replacements. That teams in Canada can only be made up of Canadians and U.S. teams Americans. My question what would prevent a foreign player from requesting dual citizenship? If a foreign player knows that there will be a strike after the league declares impasse. What would stop a player from using this avenue so that he could cross the line if he was willing? How about players already with dual citizenship would they not be allowed to cross the picket line if they wanted too? I know its all hypothetical but was wondering what avenue the foreign players may have available to them. What about American players already on Canadian team rosters and vice versa? Would teams from U.S. cities be allowed to play in Canadian cities, and Canadian teams be allowed to play in the U.S. against teams in American cities?
     
  2. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    From what I recall from Wetcoaster's detailed threads on Labor law - only US citizens and permanent residents (ie green card holders) would be able to play in the US and the reverse true in Canada (except Vancouver, where no replacement players would be allowed period).

    No new work permits/visas could be issued.

    It takes years to get US citizenship or permanent residence status, but I suppose you could see a flood of Canadian NHL players marrying Americans and US players fleeing north and seeking refugee status.

    Teams from Canada could play in the US (and visa versa).

    Current NHL foreign players with work permits/visas could cross the picket line and play for their current teams.

    AHL players who have work permits would not be able to play.

    Work permits are tied to a specific team (and an application must be made to modify them) and I don't think US/Canada labor law would allow the changes during a labor dispute.
     
  3. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    You do not "request" dual citizenship unless you have a claim through a parent for example.

    You must first apply as an immigrant and be issued an immigrant visa. That is about a 2 year process for Canada assuming that the player would qualify and many might not particularly if they are not eleite level players who are only filling in temporarily. Once you have immigrated it is a 3 year wait for citizenship.

    In the US it is more complicated because the US has quotas on immigrants and they differ from country to country. Again if qualified you are looking at a lengthy processing time for an immigrant visa and at least 5 years for citizenship IIRC.

    There is no problem with the teams crossing the borders to play becvause work permits are not required if you are a member of Canadian based or US professional team - it is a reciprocal arrangement.

    In the ECHL labour dispute Canadian and other foreign players had their visas cancelled.
     
  4. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    Correct except for one minor point.

    During the ECHL dispute existing work permits were cancelled so any existing NHL work permits would likely be invalid.
     
  5. SENSible1*

    SENSible1* Guest

    It will be interesting to see what the NHL's high priced lawyers have up their sleeve should they attempt to go the impasse route. I think it is important to keep in mind that the information we are getting here, although of obvious quality, comes from only one side in this dispute.

    I highly doubt that the NHL would be moving so steadily towards impasse and implementation without a plan in place to deal with these issues.
     
  6. Mess

    Mess Global Moderator

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    Quebec also does not permit replacement workers ..

    SO in an Impasse situation Vancouver nor Montreal could play homes games in their Province ..

    There is confusion over whether some NHL teams in Canada would be able to use replacement players.

    The four provinces with NHL franchises - Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and B.C. - all have different labour laws.

    Quebec and B.C. do not allow for replacement workers, which some experts believe could prevent the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks from using replacement players. The teams could not play in, say, Hamilton and Seattle for a year, because they could easily be slapped with an unfair labour charge, says Craig.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story.asp?id=113552
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  7. gary69

    gary69 Registered User

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    I don't how many foreign NHL players have US green cards and I haven't checked the very latest statistics, but at least a couple of years ago it was rather easy for any normal (i.e. non-criminal) person willing from many European countries (excluding Russia) to get a green card even in the annual lottery.

    There wasn't excatly a huge rush for green cards from well-off countries like Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland etc.
     
  8. Lobstertainment

    Lobstertainment Oh no, my brains.

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    just as an example, Alexander Steen, would he be able to play for Toronto?

    he was born in Winnipeg so would have Dual Canadian-Swedish citizenship, could Steen play for Toronto if something like this happened?
     
  9. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    According to several reports I have seen or heard in the past, very few European players have taken out legal immigrant status in Canada or the US.

    Russian players certainly have not because of the favourable tax treatment they receive by not doings so.
     
  10. Greschner4

    Greschner4 Registered User

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    There's next-to-zero chance that foreigners here (in the US) on NHL visas will have their visas cancelled en masse.

    I can't speak to Canada.
     
  11. Greschner4

    Greschner4 Registered User

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    ... nor can I speak to expiring visas in the US, but my educated surmise is that they wouldn't have much problem getting renewed. The glitch would be 9/11 regulations, not the labor dispute.
     
  12. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    As Canadian he could play for any Canadian based team without a work permit unless he has formally given up his Canadian citizenship.

    Until recently (July 1, 2001) Sweden did not recognize dual citizenship and he may have had to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship to have played for one of their national junior teams or for some other purpose where Swedish nationality was a requirement.
     
  13. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    That is not correct. USINS cancelled all existing work visas for the ECHL teams during that labour dispute as provided under US immigration law.

    Also P-1 visas are only issued for one year at time so the vast majority of those visas have already expired. New ones or renewals will not be processed.
     
  14. Greschner4

    Greschner4 Registered User

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    We've had this discussion before and I respect your opinion and knowledge. I'll only proffer one last time my, I hope, educated opinion as a lawyer and Washingtonian that I'll be shocked if NHL player visas are cancelled. The ECHL doesn't have a tenth the clout and high-paid lobbyists that the NHL does. The fig leaf of legitimacy to distinguish the two cases if they need distinguishing is that the visas held by NHLers aren't the same kind as ECHL visas. NHL caliber workers are not going to be put of work in the United States en masse. I'm not saying it would be right or even in accord with precedent. There are other reasons as well but there's only so much time in the day and mine is only an opinion.

    Expiring visas, as I've said, are more thorny, but the issue really isn't much different ... they'll just move renewals through. Again my opinion.

    Canada will almost certainly be a different story and a more pro-PA one.
     
  15. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    It has nothing to do with clout - US immigration law is clear on this point and it does not distinguish between classes of visas. There is no discretion or exceptions allowed where there is labour dispute in progress.

    No new visas, no renewed visas and current visas are not valid - no exceptions. That is US immigration law. Could the law be changed?? - certainly. However I suspect that US labour organizations would be vehemently opposed and passage of any law through the US Congress would take a period of time.

    If the US Congress was not prepared to pass legislation to get baseball back on the field what chance is there that NHL hockey would be high on their priority list?

    Canada may be different because unlike the US there is no procedure to cancel an existing work permit unless the holder has breached a term and condition of the work permit.

    However for any player holding a work permit who has left Canada he would have to make a new application upon re-entry if he is visa exempt or has a valid multiple entry visa and at a Canadian Consulate abroad if he is not visa exempt and does not have a valid and subsisting entry visa. Those work permits cannot be issued.

    My opinion is based upon 30 years of experience (10 years of that inside the immigration department) and I know the immigration requirements inside out having obtained numerous work permits for players over the years both in Canada and the US.
     
  16. ladybugblue

    ladybugblue Registered User

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    The one thing most people are forgetting is that Non-U.S. born players can play without a visa if they have Green card. Now I now many of the youngers players probably haven't applied for this but some players that have been in the NHL for long periods may already have Residency status even through marriage. So realistically no-one knows who could play for whom at this point in time. Immigration is an issue but how much of an issue it is anyones guess at this point in time.
     
  17. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    If you have read this thread and numerous others on immigration constraints, the issue of immigration status was covered. (See post #2 in this thread).

    Previous reports have noted that very few foreign nationals apply for US or Canadian immigration status. It is much easier just to keep playing on work permits and visas.
     
  18. ladybugblue

    ladybugblue Registered User

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    I don't buy that for a second. I have had to apply for a visa every year for several years and it is a royal pain in the neck. It is not easier and if you are making good money why not get a green card. It's not like they are giving up citizenship. I wouldn't assume anything in terms of players and their immigration status. NO ONE knows their status at all and to assume otherwise is completely ignorant. I know it is an issue but I don't think it is as black and white as many on this board are trying to portray.
     
  19. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    OTOH you do not have professional advisors (lawyers and player agents) handling everything for you.

    I know the status of a number of players because I was player agent and I have worked on immigration matters for the past 30 years.

    And you?
     
  20. ladybugblue

    ladybugblue Registered User

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    Actually I do have people taking care of it for me...it is still a pain in the neck. Just because you represented a number of players doesn't mean YOU personally know the status of every single player. I wouldn't assume anything...you on the other hand seem to know everything. :banghead:
     
  21. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    Not everything. There are probably a few things I do not know about this dispute but I keep learning as I go. As far as immigration aspects that I do know.

    I have handled thousands of these sorts of applications over the years, it is not very difficult and about all my clients ever had to do was sign the form. Not too tough would you not agree?
     
  22. ladybugblue

    ladybugblue Registered User

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    I never doubted you know a lot about immigration law but I don't think you know about the legal status of every single player. I just wouldn't assume anything about anyone's status...who would cross...how it would work...it really is pointless because no one really knows if an impasse will be declared...what the players will do if an impasse is declared and how the government will handle it. Just because case law says has precedence and it is handled in one manner doesn't mean new precedence can't be achieved especially since we have a Repuplican Congress, House of Respresentatives and Presidency. Things can change and all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride...no one KNOWS what will happen.

    I am not trying to be difficult but I honestly don't think anyone has the answers to all the questions...I just think since you have consistently sided with the players that maybe the thought of replacement players and an impasse is disturbing. I personally don't want to see it but it may be a reality and we don't know yet how it will all play out.
     
  23. gary69

    gary69 Registered User

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    On the other hand, I would assume that a lot of top-notch European players (maybe not Russians, like you said) who have been in NHL for a few years, would have been smart enough to obtain legal immigrant status, just for the tax purposes.

    According to tax legislation in their home countries, they can only spend a limited number of days per calendar year in their home country, or they will face substantial property and income taxes (as compared to USA) based on their previous foreign income and property.

    If they have not, then the agents and lawyers haven't done their job.
     
  24. vanlady

    vanlady Registered User

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    Many of these players have begun divesting themselves of there foreign properties, with the intention of going home. Also remember that if these guys go for there green card they would have no intention of going home at the end of there careers. I know when my husband was overseas I couldn't wait to get home.
     
  25. Larionov

    Larionov Registered User

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    Wetcoaster, you may have covered this in another thread, but what did you make of the comments by Graham Currie, spokesperson for the BC Ministry of Labour, about ten days back saying that the NHLPA was not a recognized union in BC? I keep hearing that they wouldn't be allowed to use replacement players in BC, but according to the Ministry that administers the act this isn't the case. Your thoughts?
     
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