The best person for your United States based business may be from outside the country. This non-U.S. job candidate, however, may have no work permit or any required paperwork at all. What’s needed, then, to hire foreign labor?
The key is sponsorship, vouching for that worker, identifying your need, and then following every legal step to bring them into the country. Don’t ignore any part of the law. There are costly penalties for doing so and you jeopardize the hiring process you want to complete.
It’s extremely complicated to hire a foreign worker. Checking job qualifications and documenting a workers’ identity isn’t enough. You must also meet several government requirements before you can hire that foreign worker for your U.S. based company.
The time, resources, and paperwork involved vary depending on the position and the type of visa required. Immigration-related laws and regulations change regularly. Seek legal counsel to answer these employment law questions and to guide you through the process of foreign worker sponsorship.
Hiring American workers is easier and far less expensive than obtaining work visas for foreign workers. If efforts fail to produce a local candidate, however, you might consider hiring abroad.
How to sponsor a foreign worker into the US
These steps will help you identify, recruit, screen, and sponsor a non-U.S. citizen to work in the United States:
Decide what position the prospective employee will fill
Every job category influences the amount of red tape involved and the visa required by the applicant. Determine the positions within your company that you need foreign workers to fill. There could be dozens of available fields but most visas granted fall within six specific categories.
An H-1B visa, frequently called a U.S. work visa, is granted to qualified temporary foreign workers with employer sponsorship. It allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for professional job positions on a temporary basis. An H-1B visa sponsorship will not be granted until a full background check on the applicant has been made.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) data shows that the majority of approved H1-B petitions were given to computer-related jobs, followed by architecture, education, and engineering and surveying.
Run a recruiting process, conduct background checks and validate documents
Decide what immigration visa program is suitable for your recruiting process.
Will the employee be hired on a short-time basis or do they need to become a permanent resident?
Use the same thorough method of recruiting that you would use to pick out qualified local job applicants. Allow more time for foreign recruitment since authenticating non-U.S. college degrees and satisfying other requirements will take longer. Depending on the applicant’s country, the verification process can go on from weeks to months.
Non-U.S. citizens may be employed by U.S.-based companies provided they are already in the United States and are qualified and permitted to work in the country. All newly hired foreign employees must have a legitimate work visa issued by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. They are also required by Federal law to complete an I-9 form to verify their identity.
H-1B visas allow the holder to live and find work in the United States as they pursue permanent resident status. They are very popular and their yearly quota fills quickly.
Get certified by the U.S. Department of Labor
Obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before submitting paperwork to the USCIS. This is a complicated procedure. Obtaining certification means the employer has made a claim to the Department of Labor that all means have been used to recruit a local worker for the job position without success, and that the specified foreign applicant meets the qualifications and skills required for the position.
Depending on the type of business, certification can take eight to twelve weeks. Contact the USCIS to determine which certification is right for your needs. Part of this procedure is the employer’s submission of a Labor Condition Applications (LCA) to the Department of Labor via Form ETA 9035. The LCA specifies the standards that employers must meet. If approved, the LCA is good for up to three years of employment.
Meet insurance requirements
Significant changes have taken place in the health care industry since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was approved in 2010. These changes in health insurance coverage may impact H-1B visa holders. New hires can decide to carry health insurance or not. Federal laws, though, require H1-B visa holders to comply with ACA laws once they become a resident alien. Employers can provide or help to pay for health insurance.
Comply with employee benefits and salary requirements
An H-1B employee’s salary cannot be less than the job position’s standard wage. The employee must receive the same benefits as domestic employees holding the same position in the company.
The employer must shoulder all costs related to filing the H-1B application, not the employee.
The fraud prevention and detection fee ($500), the basic filing fee ($460), and other H-1B application fees are standard. Other fees, however, are based on the number of workers the filing company hires and can range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. An employer can typically expect to spend between $2,500 and $7,000 for every worker.
Premium processing for H-1B visas
H-1B visas vary in processing time. Applicants can facilitate decision by paying a premium processing fee of $1,410. Premium processing may result in an expedited decision within 15 calendar days.
Seek the help of an US Immigration Attorney to apply for a work visa
Richards and Jurusik has many years of hands-on experience in the practice of the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States.
Contact us today at 716-970-4007 to speak with a qualified U.S. Immigration lawyer who can assist you with the H-1B registration process or the registration process for other work visas.