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A Guide To Hiring International Employees

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The advantage of hiring an international workforce is the diversity of skills, views, and experiences. But the procedure can be complicated and can take time, especially when it comes to employee’s visa sponsorship in the USA.

Following are the steps and considerations to be taken into account while employing international employees and sponsoring their visas.

Assess the international staff requirement.

The first step in the process is to establish whether your company has a requirement for a foreign national employee. This occurs when there are no local people with such capabilities or as a requirement for diversity in the workforce. Role and qualifications are to be declared as it is a backbone of visa sponsorship.

Understanding the US immigration laws.

When considering an international employee, one should look at the immigration laws of the USA. The changes of all the laws are a constant, so you have to watch out for any changes that can have an impact on the sponsor visas of the overseas employees. The two main compartments of law that regulate visa sponsorship are Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the rules employed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Assess the Correct Visa Category.

Several visa classes can be applied for the foreign employees and determining the class that fits the employee’s qualifications and job role is important. H-1B, L-1, and O-1 are the most used visas for work in the US.

The population mainly targeted by the H-1B visa is bachelors’ degree holders and it is often used in technology and science. A L-1 visa is designed for a personnel transfer within the company in the sense that employees of an international company can keep working at the US branch of the company. O-1 visa is designed for applicants with extraordinary abilities in arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.

Obtain LCA.

An employer needs to obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor if they want to seek approval for an H-1B visa for an international worker. This document does not provide for the transformation of hiring a foreign worker into all working conditions including wages of the American workers. It also demands from the employers to provide the employee with the highest prevailing wage or the actual wage for the given job.

File the Petition with USCIS.

Once the LCA is certified, the next step is to submit a petition to the USCIS for the particular visa category. This involves the completion of the necessary forms and other relevant documentation that should provide evidence of the employee’s qualifications and job offer. The visa petition processing times vary and may be very long i.e. amount to many months so one should have patience.

Complete the Visa Form.

Once the petition is granted, the employee is required to get a visa from a US consulate in his/her home country. The employer might need to consider giving more documents or support letters to fortify the employee’s file. It is important to understand that different consulates may have different requirements and processing times, so it is advisable to verify with the particular consulate before the visa interview of the employee.

Re-locate and Adjust to the US Culture.

Bringing in an international employee not only requires the visa process but also many other things from relocating the employee to the United States. The employer may also have to help in the finding of the appropriate housing, transportation, and other logistic support. It is equally important to aid the employee in adapting to the new culture, work environment, and possible language difficulties.

Monitor Visa Status and Adherence.

When the expatriate finally starts working for the organization, the employer has to follow the visa status of the employee and make sure that all the immigration laws will be adhered to. These involve correct extensions or alterations of visa status, and maintenance of the employee in good repute with visa requirements, for instance, keeping employment valid and reporting changes of address.

Possibility of a Permanent Residency

The hiring of an international employee on a temporary work visa does not represent a promise that the person will be granted permanent residence in the country of the United States. Nonetheless, some visa types, like the H-1B visa, have an employment-based green card route to permanent residency. There are also paths to permanent residency for those holding advanced degrees through employment-based green cards. A long-term goal and a possibility for permanent residency should be planned from the very beginning.