DHS Announces Pilot ‘Known Employer’ Program

The United States is taking steps to facilitate legitimate cross-border travel by Canadians seeking to work in the United States, by creating a ‘Known Employer’ pilot program. This effort, which was announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on January 8, 2015, is part of a larger cooperative initiative between the United States and Canada that dates back to early 2011.

Beyond the Border

In February 2011, President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a U.S.-Canadian joint declaration, entitled Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. This declaration articulates a shared approach to security in which both nations cooperate to address threats, while also taking steps to expedite lawful trade and travel. This was followed by the release of the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The Beyond the Border Initiative included a specific commitment by both nations to explore the feasibility of including a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers who cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

Streamlined Adjudications

The ‘Known Employer’ pilot program will seek to streamline the adjudication process for cases involving Canadians seeking to work in the United States. The program aims to reduce the paperwork required and expedite the processing of these cases. The pilot program is set to begin in late 2015 and will be a joint effort by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The goal of expediting and facilitating legitimate business travel across our Northern border is part of a binational commitment under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in addition to the Beyond the Border Initiative.


The Murthy Law Firm applauds the efforts of these two governments as they seek ways to improve security through cooperation, but also to reduce wait times and the burden on employers who need to move employees to the United States. MurthyDotCom will continue to monitor the progress of the Known Employer pilot program and provide updates as additional information becomes available.


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