Employers can sponsor foreign nationals for non-employment or employment based visas.
You are a company that is growing and in order to succeed you want to hire a foreign worker to fill an important position. That worker may be abroad or already be in the U.S. — maybe he or she is already working for you on a temporary basis.
Our immigration system recognizes that U.S. companies need to have the right people in place to succeed in an ever challenging marketplace. By developing a comprehensive and effective visa strategy, you can take advantage of this recognition in two ways: by hiring an individual on a temporary basis (through a nonimmigrant visa) or on a permanent basis (immigrant visa or green card).
An important premise that runs throughout all employment based visa pursuits is that visas (any kind of visa) will not be approved if they adversely affect American workers. For the purposes of visa strategy, American workers are U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Employment based visa cases all involve some level of consideration of how the visa approval would affect American workers.
For instance, all employment based visa cases have a rule that the prevailing wage or higher be paid to the foreign worker to assure they are not being hired simply so the company can pay less than it would to an American worker. And employment based visas are primarily available only for professional level positions as there is an understanding that there are sufficient American workers for non-professional positions. Other protections are in place as well in most employment based visa categories.
Nonimmigrant Employment Based Visas
U.S. employers may petition the immigration service for temporary (that is, not permanent) visas that allow foreign workers to fill identified positions for a designated period of time. The primary visa program for this purpose is the H-1B program that allows U.S. employers to hire professional workers (with a bachelors degree or higher) for professional positions (requiring an individual with a bachelors degree or higher) for a period of up to six years.
Other nonimmigrant visa programs include (but are not limited to) those that allow for substantial foreign investors in U.S. companies (E visas), intra-company transfers from foreign parent or subsidiary companies (L visas), and foreign religious workers to provide religious service for U.S. religious organizations (R visas).
In nonimmigrant cases the U.S. employer submits a petition to the immigration service and, once approved, the individual worker either changes into that status (if here in legal status already) or obtains the visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. While here in valid nonimmigrant status many employees and their employers elect to pursue a permanent visa that allows them to remain here beyond the designated period of nonimmigrant visa time.
As you consider the nonimmigrant visa opportunities it is important to understand your company’s needs and how they interface with the requirements of the nonimmigrant visa programs currently available. The immigration attorneys at the Hacking Law Practice, LLC can assist you in filing for a nonimmigrant visa.
To find out how the an employer can sponsor a foreign national for lawful permanent resident status, click here.