The law requires that employers verify an alien’s identity and authorization to work before permitting the alien to begin employment. Employers who fail to do so may be subjected to sanctions. However, the law gives employers the ability to sponsor prospective alien employees. Employers who seek to employ aliens have a variety of options for doing so. An employer may seek permission from the USCIS to employ an alien temporarily by applying for a non-immigrant visa. An employer may also sponsor an alien for a green card which permits the alien to permanently reside and work in the US.
Non-immigrant visas: For specialized and professional positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, an employer may apply for an H-1B visa for the prospective employee (Please see our Public Access File page for important information regarding the labor condition application). For managerial or specialized employees already employed by a foreign affiliate who seek to transfer to the US affiliate, an employer may pursue an L-1 visa for them. For Canadian and Mexican professionals, a TN visa may be sought either at an appropriate consulate in the employee’s native country or a point of entry into the US. For Australian professionals, the recently created EB-3 visa may be appropriate. Charitable and religious organizations may seek the R visa for aliens that it intends to employ temporarily in a professional capacity. Temporary, seasonal workers may be employed using the H-2 visas. Medical institutions located in medically underserved areas may apply for the H-1C visa for nurses they seek to employee.
Employers may also employ foreign professionals as J-1 trainees to participate in cross-cultural exchange programs. The U.S. employer benefits by obtaining expansion into the international marketplace through interactions with professionals from foreign countries to whom they offer training. The J-1 visa permits foreign professionals to enter into the U.S. on a temporary basis for training with a qualifying U.S. company. Interested U.S. companies may obtain sponsorship through the AILF Exchange Visitor Program.
Non-immigrant visas are typically granted for the length of time that the employer proposed to employ the alien. Aliens who obtain visas may bring their spouses and dependents along. Dependents are also issued visas for the duration of the principal’s visa status.
Immigrant Visas: An employer who seeks to offer permanent employment to an alien may apply for a green card for that employee and his family. For most employees, an employer must seek Labor Certification from the United States Department of Labor by filing a PERM petition. Once an alien employee obtains permanent residency, he may reside and work in the US permanently.
For health care workers, please visit our Health Care Network for information concerning visas and other requirements for such.