LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Ryan Ann Alexeev | Nov 13, 2010

What Employers Need to Know When Hiring A Non-US Citizen Worker

If someone from another country applied for a position with your company, would you know, based on their immigration status, what laws and steps you would need to follow in order to hire that person? In order for work to be performed in the US, immigration law requires both private and public employers to hire only those who are US citizens or aliens who have been authorized to work. Here are some additional requirements employers must keep in mind.

US Citizens & Green Card Holders

US citizens and green card holders are allowed to lawfully live and work in the US. The legal requirements for hiring an individual with a green card are the same as for hiring a US citizen. Make sure to I-9 verify.

H-1B Visa Holders

H-1B Visa holders are individuals who currently work for another company in the US in a specialty occupation. Holders of these visas are allowed to transfer jobs as long as it is in the same field. To hire an H-1B holder, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be filed with the Department of Labor and posted in two public places at the hiring employer’s place of work. Once the LCA has been approved, the application to transfer the visa has been submitted, and the employer has received notice from USCIS, then the employee may begin working for the new company while the visa transfer is pending. A public access file, which includes the approved LCA, application, and I-9, must be created and maintained at all times while the employee is working for the company.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Students who are in the US on a student visa have the option to work for one year after graduation in their field of study. The student must apply for and be granted work authorization before beginning their OPT. OPT must be completed within fourteen (14) months from the student’s graduation date. During employment, the employer can sponsor an H-1B visa for the student. H-1B visas (not H-1B transfer visas) can be challenging to get and are limited in number.

There are additional types of work authorization that an alien may have, however these are the most common employers face. It is always wise to get in contact with a professional who can help you through the process to make sure you remain compliant with immigration employment laws.

There are many other types of employment based visas, but these are the kinds I often see employers face.

Additional resources provided by the author

www.uscis.gov www.northcountylegal.com

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