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What Employers Need to Know Before Hiring Immigrant Workers

What Employers Need to Know Before Hiring Immigrant Workers

Immigration has been part of the American landscape from the very beginning. It is often said that we are a nation of immigrants, which is hard to argue if you know our history. As such, it should be no surprise that companies in the U.S. are usually more than willing to hire immigrant workers as readily and willingly as they do those born here.

With all that said, there are laws on the books governing how immigrant workers can be hired. There are both legal and illegal ways to do it. As immigration attorneys, Graham Adair assists companies and their foreign-born workers committed to doing things the right way. We are immigration law experts with a special focus on business immigration.

If you are new to the whole business immigration concept, here are some things you need to know before you start looking into hiring immigrant workers:

1. Immigrant Doesn’t Mean Illegal

Unfortunately, the terms ‘immigrant’ and ‘illegal’ are used together far too often. Yes, there are people from other countries who enter the U.S. without proper documentation. But that is not true of all immigrants. It is not true of all immigrant workers.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, some 28.6 million members of the civilian workforce in 2021 were legal immigrants. That accounts for about 17% of the total civilian labor force. These were legally registered immigrants who followed the rules and got jobs. Their contributions to our economy are no less important than anyone else’s.

2. Workers Need Visas

Immigrant workers must have visas to work legally in this country. The most important thing in this regard is the fact that there are literally dozens of types of visas issued by USCIS according to the circumstances and needs of each applicant. One of the visas we specialize in is the H-1B.

The H-1B visa is designed for professional workers who will only be in the U.S. temporarily. Similar visas for professional workers include the E-3 and TN visas. H-2A and H-2B are temporary visas for seasonal laborers.

There are many others, including the L-1, P-1, E-1, E-2, and R visas. Here is the point: you need to know what kind of visa a worker must possess before you can hire them. This is one area in which the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney is invaluable. Immigration attorneys understand the different visas and their applications.

3. Employers Must Verify Eligibility

Next, know that employers are required by law to verify the eligibility of any immigrant workers they hope to employ. Job candidates provide the necessary documentation. Employers are required to verify this documentation and to keep copies as proof of compliance. Eligibility is also verified by way of Form I-9.

Employers must furnish proof of eligibility upon request from authorized government agencies. Therefore, it is in an employee’s best interest to keep meticulous records where employee eligibility and verification are concerned.

4. Use of the E-Verify System

The federal government maintains an E-Verify system employers can use to verify eligibility online. The system is open to all employers across the country. It is voluntary from a federal standpoint, but some states mandate the use of E-Verify for any and all hires. Employers need to know whether the system is voluntary or mandatory in the states in which they hope to hire.

Business immigration can be challenging at times. If you need assistance, feel free to contact Graham Adair. If your case is something that we can help with, we can collaborate with you to come up with a plan of action moving forward.

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