An international workforce may well be the cornerstone of your company’s ability to succeed in an increasingly global market, but how do you go about hiring foreign employees? Immigration in the US is a complex process, even for business, and it can be difficult and frustrating to figure out what your company needs to do to get started. The complexities are compounded by national discourse that can at times seem discouraging toward immigration. Don’t be deterred – immigration law in the United States carves out options for bringing qualified employees to the United States. If you’d like to talk to an attorney about your specific case, FordMurray offers free 30 minute consultations – schedule yours here.
Below we’ve detailed five important steps you need to take to move forward with building a global workforce.
1) Start early
Your company will not be able to decide on Monday that they want to hire international workers and have them in the US by the end of the week. There is a lot of red tape and the procedure of getting started hiring foreign employees can take months or even years depending on which business immigration program you are utilizing. Get started with planning and taking the necessary steps as early as possible with the knowledge that it may take a while before your plan starts bearing fruit. FordMurray has published several guides for businesses and higher education institutions that provide extensive insights, timelines and pitfalls to avoid for different types of employment visas – view our guides here.
2) Make the necessary preparations within your company
Obviously, you’re not just going to go out and start picking random foreign nationals to hire and then figure out the rest once they get to the US. You need to figure out what roles within your company you want to fill with international employees. Often, these are positions for which you have trouble finding talent within the US that has the prowess and capabilities to excel in the role.
Once you’ve figured out which roles in your company that you want to fill with international talent, you need to make plans for recruitment and retention. Business immigration is not something that you can play by ear. You need to create a plan for bringing the employees to the US, and for how to keep them here while remaining compliant with the law. For more information on maintaining compliance with United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), download our 13-page I-9 Compliance Guide.
3) Decide which immigration program you are going to use
There are numerous visa programs available and you will need to decide which one is appropriate for the types of international employees you want to hire. Do you plan on your new employees becoming permanent residents or will you only hire them temporarily? What job function will they be fulfilling? Are you looking to hire someone from a country with which the US has a treaty, or elsewhere? These are all considerations you must take in choosing a business immigration program. For more information on specific visas and petition programs, click on the following links:
- Extraordinary Ability
- H-1B Visa Sponsorship
- J-1 Visa
- L-1A and L-1B Visas
- National Interest Waiver
- Student Exchange and Visitor Programs
4) Obtain a certification from the Department of Labor
Before moving forward with the visa process with USCIS, you will have to obtain a certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL). These certifications are in place so that the DOL can verify that the admittance of your foreign employees to the US will not harm job opportunities, wages, or working conditions for US workers. There are various certifications employers must obtain depending on the type of business immigration program they are using.
5) Petition USCIS for visas
The employer is the party responsible for obtaining visas for their prospective international employees. Once again, there are various processes you must follow depending on the type of visa you wish to obtain. Just because you were approved for certification to hire foreign employees does not guarantee that you will receive a visa. You will also go through USCIS if you wish to extend an employee’s visa or change its status.
If you want to hire a foreign employee and don’t know where to start, contact us today for a complimentary consultation. We can help you step-by-step from start to finish in obtaining the international talent your company needs to thrive. To stay on top of the latest news in business immigration, sign up for our newsletter of follow us on Facebook, where we post articles weekly on business immigration news.