• February 2020
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Business Immigration Compliance – What You Need to Know

When it comes to hiring employees for your business, you certainly have a lot on your plate. However, understanding the country’s business immigration laws can still save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. Here is everything that any business owner should know about business immigration laws.

What You Are Not Allowed to Do

Many of the S business immigration laws in the United States are designed to prevent discrimination. Although these laws are quite complex, the basics are as follows.

  • You cannot discriminate against anyone based on their citizenship or immigration status when it comes to hiring, firing, disciplinary action, benefits, or pay rate. However, this only applies to companies with four or more employees.
  • You cannot discriminate on the basis of national origin for any of the aforementioned reasons if you have between three and 15 employees. What’s more, you cannot give preferential treatment to employees based on their nation of birth.
  • You may only request documents listed on the I-9 form to confirm a potential employee’s employment eligibility.
  • You cannot retaliate in any way against an employee who files charges with the OSC or who initiates an investigation into claims of discriminatory actions that may be against the INA.

When You Suspect an Employee is Not Eligible to Work in the US

If you’ve hired someone with a temporary permit to work in the United States (a Green Card) and you have reason to suspect that the permit has lapsed, or if you suspect that an employee hired before you took over a company may not be eligible to work in the US, use caution when approaching this individual. Notify the employee that you would like to see the documents listed on the I-9 form to verify his or her eligibility to work before you terminate or suspend his or her employment. This is a safeguard for yourself and your company; firing or suspending an employee who is legally able to work in the US may be considered a violation of the INA.

Understanding the H-1B Visa

H-1B visas are a bit different from traditional visas in that they allow you to employ foreign workers in very specialized occupations. It is a non-immigrant visa, and it is much simpler for individuals to obtain than a traditional US Green Card. The current immigration laws allow for 85,000 of these H-1B visas each year, and those applying for them must meet one of the following conditions.

  • Individuals must have a US bachelor’s (or higher) degree that relates to the specific occupation from an accredited college or university.
  • They must have a foreign degree that is equivalent to (or higher than) a US bachelor’s degree that relates to the specific occupation from an accredited college or university.
  • These individuals must have unrestricted licensure, registration, or certification that allows them to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment.
  • They may also have experience, education, or training in a specialty that is considered the equivalent of the completion of such a degree, and they must be able to prove their experience through progressively responsible positions in that specialty.

Although business immigration laws seem complex at first, as long as you understand the basics and refer to them frequently, you should not experience any issues hiring foreign workers. Keep in mind that different laws apply to any tasks that you choose to outsource to a firm in another country.