A Boutique Immigration Law Firm Serving the Bay Area

How to Hire International Employees

Hiring international workers takes time - a lot of it. The decision to bring in workers from abroad is a serious one, and it requires a significant amount of time and resources to make it happen. Unlike local hiring, you wouldn't be able to find a candidate and have them start the following week - there's quite a bit of red tape that goes along with hiring foreign employees. Here's an outline of how to navigate the US immigration system so that you can successfully add international members to your team.

Start Early

US Immigration, be it for business or otherwise, is a slow process. If you're considering hiring from abroad, the earlier you can start that process, the better off you'll be. Figure out what positions you want to fill, and why, and what qualifications are required for the job. If hiring abroad is the right choice for your company, start by creating a plan to bring employees to the US. Ask yourself important questions to determine your company's needs. Are you looking for temporary workers, or long term? Are you hoping to help your employees become permanent residents? What country or countries will you source employees from? After you've determined the role and function you're hiring for and have a hiring plan, make sure you understand how to remain compliant with USCIS during the duration of their employment with your company.

Choose a Program

Work visas comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on the type of position being filled, the home country of the potential employee and the length of time they plan to work in the US. Here are some of the visas you might consider for your future foreign workers:

Every type of US work visa has its own pros and cons, as well as appropriate use cases. Sometimes, an employer might have their mind set on a particular type of visa, when in reality an alternative visa might be more effective or process more quickly. Keep an open mind and speak with an immigration lawyer about your company's unique situation to find out what visa you really should be petitioning for.

Get Certified

Once you've defined the position you’re hiring for, as well as what visa you plan to petition for, you may have to obtain a certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) to be allowed to file a petition with USCIS. Depending on the type of immigration program you choose, the type of certification you'll need may be different. Head over to the Department of Labor's website to learn more about the type of certification you might need for your hiring process.

Petition for the visas

In most cases, it's the employer's responsibility to file a US work visa petition on behalf of their potential international employee. It's important to remember - and to advise your prospective employee - that it's not guaranteed that any visa will be awarded at the end of the process. Make sure the international individual you are petitioning for is fully aware of the visa processes and timeline, so that they have other arrangements during the rather lengthy waiting periods.

Again, be sure to send your petition in as early and possible, and ensure that its 100% complete, as incomplete applications face longer wait times and they will most likely be subject to time-consuming requests for evidence.

Business immigration is not something that you should play by ear. If hiring international workers is part of your company's long-term business plan, start planning now to ensure that you have a solid foundation in place in order to be able to petition for your new employee.

In complicated immigration processes such as hiring foreign workers, it helps to have expert advice to ensure that your company isn't making any costly mistakes during the visa petition process. If you're interested in hiring abroad, but are unsure of your company's visa needs, don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be able to guide you through the visa process for hiring international employees.