Immigration for Foreign Workers Coming to the US
Global marketing is no longer reserved for brands with deep pockets. Many Foreign businesses are expanding into international markets, and all of them eventually find themselves at the doorsteps of the United States, the world’s largest market. With this comes the relocation of employees, and the process of obtaining work permits suitable for those individuals to become employed in the United States.
This article will go into detail about the various visas and how to determine which are best suited for foreign employees who wish to emigrate from their home countries to work in the United States.
To obtain an E-2 visa for a temporary worker, a foreign national must be from an E-2 treaty country. However, one does not need to reside in an E-2 treaty country to qualify, many Brazilians fall under this exception. Brazil is not a treaty country; but many Brazilians retain Italian citizenship since Italy is a treaty country, they too become eligible for an E-2 visa. The foreign investor must also own at least 51% of the company for it to qualify as an E-2 entity.
If this criterion is met, the applicant may go ahead and submit their application to their nearest U.S. Embassy. The applicant will then go through a visa interview and screening process to obtain a visa valid for five years.
Each E-2 temporary work visa holders may stay for a maximum of two years from the date of entry, leaving before that expiration. The spouse and children of an E-2 Visa Holder can obtain work authorization while in the United States. It is important to note that E-2 Visa Holder’s children who are 21 years of age and younger can attend school but cannot work.
The L-1A visa is for managers, executives, or specialists of a foreign company who are being transferred to their company’s U.S. offices. The regulations for the L-1A visa states that applicants must within three years preceding the time of their application been employed continuously for more than a year by a qualifying entity.
The applicants must seek to enter the United States temporarily in order to render his or her services to a branch of the same employer parent affiliate or subsidiary of the qualifying entity.
If a company is established in both countries, the L-1 can be valid for three years. If a foreign entity is forming a new company in the U.S., the applicant can receive a one-year visa and renew in increments of three years, until the employee has reached the maximum of seven years.
The spouse of an L-1 Visa Holder can obtain employment authorization while in the United States. Children (21 years and younger) can attend school but cannot work. The main concern with L-1’s is that they do not readily apply to small businesses.
H-1B Visa for Employee with a Specialty Occupation
When applying for the H1-B visa, the job must be classified within a DOL (Department of Labor) code in order to know what general job duties will be as well as determine what the prevailing wage will be. An Example of a position would be an Agricultural and Food Scientist (19-1012.00). This is an appropriate example as it requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
For employees requesting H-1B status for the first time, please keep in mind a few things. The effective date for the H-1B is October 1 of each year, which is the government’s fiscal year start date. The applicant cannot file a visa application until April 1st of each year. Preliminary work takes a minimum of one and a half months to complete, so it’s imperative that they give enough time before that filing date to do the required.
PERM / Green Card
There are three steps to undertake for permanent residence based on employment.
1. The first step is to file an application for labor certification under the PERM provisions.
2. The second step is to apply for the immigrant visa petition. Once this is approved, the process can move forward with the petition to classify the beneficiary as an immigrant worker professional.
3. The final step is an application for permanent residence or consular processing.
The employer is legally required to pay for all fees and costs associated with the PERM process during the initial step. The second and third steps can be paid by either by the employer, the employee, or both.
It is important to note that candidate eligible for an H-1B may not necessarily qualify for permanent residence. One does not have to be in H-1B or have an educational degree to qualify for the PERM process.
Unless the employer can demonstrate that it cannot find a suitable US worker qualified and willing to fill the position, the labor certification application will not be approved. If this occurs, the employer can begin to advertise the position and hope that the attempt will not bring forth any willing and qualified U.S. workers applying for the position.
Planning ahead for your employees and their families who might also want to come to the US and become citizens makes all the difference. If you require assistance when the time comes to apply for a visa consult a professional who specializes in citizenship and immigration services and can expedite the process and prepare you for any bumps in the road.