Immigration Strategies for Your Workforce
Competitiveness of your organization depends upon qualification of its staff. That means, you sometimes need to hire the best and the brightest of your employees from abroad, and to do so, you have to comply with guidelines provided by the Department of Labor, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Department of State. Depending on the job description and requirements, as well as employee qualifications, you can sponsor your foreign-national employees for a temporary visa or for Green Card.
Non-immigrant Employment-based Visas (Temporary Stay in U.S.)
Some of the non-immigrant work visas with which we can assist you include:
- Specialty occupations: H-1B
The H-1B visa allows a foreign national to temporarily work in the United States for a maximum of 6 years. However, an employer can only request a total of 3 years on any given H-1B petition. Current laws limit the number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-1B visa or otherwise be provided H-1B status to 65,000 annually, with an additional 20,000 under the H-1B advanced degree exemption for individuals who graduate from U.S. universities with a master’s degree or higher. An individual who has previously been granted H-1B status is generally exempt from this limitation.
- Domestic workers, nannies: H-2B
- Intra-company transferees: L-1
For a U.S. company with a related company abroad, the L visa can be an extremely useful and valuable tool to facilitate the transfer of personnel to the United States. A foreign national who is coming to open a new office in the U.S. will only be given an initial period of stay of 1 year. At the end of the year, the foreign national must prove that the U.S. company has been actively engaged in business. If the U.S. entity has been in existence for more than 1 year, the L-1A managers and executives can get an initial period of stay of 3 years, with extensions in 2-year increments, for a total of 7 years. L-1Bs can get an initial period of stay of 3 years, with an extension of 2 years, for a total of 5 years.
- Extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics: O-1
O-1 visa applicant needs sponsorship of a U.S. employer (or a U.S. agent) to be able to apply for this visa. O-1 visas are issued to foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. There is no explicit limit on stay – the period of time allowed in the U.S. is usually tied to the timing of the event, up to 3 years.
- Work visa for Canadian or Mexican citizens: TN
Immigrant Employment-based Visas (Leads to Permanent Residency or Green Card)
We can assist employers in obtaining green cards for qualified employees. Usually, the employment-based immigrant visas require a labor certificate (PERM). However, there are visa options that allow for filing an immigrant visa petition without having to file a PERM labor certification application.
Below are the most common employment-based Green Card options that we can help you obtain:
- Outstanding professors and researchers: EB-1-2
This category requires a “permanent” job offer as a researcher or professor, but does not need a labor certification. The foreign national must be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field, with a minimum of 3 years of experience in teaching and/or research in that field. Also, the offered position should be a tenure or tenure-track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education, or he/she must be offered a comparable type of research position with a qualified private employer.
- Multinational managers and executives: EB-1-3
This category requires a job offer from a U.S. employer. However, there is no need for a labor certification in the EB-1-3 category. The employee (manager or executive) must have worked abroad for an overseas company continuously for 1 year (full-time) in the preceding 3 years. The foreign national’s capacity abroad must have been executive or managerial. Also, the foreign national must be coming to the U.S. to fill an executive or managerial position
- Advanced degrees and exceptional abilities: EB-2
Usually an EB-2 foreign national must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and a valid approved labor certification or PERM to file a petition under this category. The labor certification requirement can be waived if it can be demonstrated that it is in the U.S. national interest to “admit” the foreign national (see National Interest Waiver).
The EB-2 category has two sub-groups: 1) Advanced Degree Professionals who are holding a Ph.D. degree, a Master’s degree, or a Bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of experience after receiving the Bachelor’s degree in the related field. 2) Exceptional Ability Foreign Nationals who have a degree of expertise significantly above the ordinary, and must submit proper evidence to prove such a degree of expertise.
- Professionals, Skilled Workers and Other Workers, EB-3 & EW
This category of foreign nationals must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and a valid approved labor certification or PERM, in order to file the petition.
This category has three sub-groups: 1) Professionals: foreign nationals who have at least a Bachelor’s degree, performing jobs that require at least a Bachelor’s degree. 2) Skilled workers who have at least 2 years of related experience, performing jobs that require at least 2 years of experience. 3) Other workers who are in positions requiring less than 2 years of experience, or those who do not have 2 years of relevant experience or education.
How We Can Help
- navigate through the channels of the Department of Labor to obtain the required labor certification;
- assist you in determining your employees’ visa eligibility;
- file the petition and required documents with the USCIS in the relevant visa category; and
- walk your employees through the final stages of obtaining a green card, either via adjustment of status or consular processing.