U.S. immigration law allows American employers to hire foreign workers, but the process of obtaining an employment work visa for a foreign worker is no easy walk in the park. Both the employer and prospective foreign worker must comply with rigid immigration and labor laws, besides being patient with the time it takes to process the visas. At Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, we have experienced employment immigration lawyers who routinely obtain these work visas for employers in the 60191 zip code.
Before embarking on the process of obtaining a work visa for a prospective foreign worker, the employer must first decide whether to obtain a nonimmigrant or permanent work visa. Which one the employer decides to pursue will determine which process to be followed and how long it will take to obtain the visa.
A nonimmigrant work visa is a visa available for a foreign worker to enter and work in the U.S. for a limited period, usually three years. There are several types of these nonimmigrant visas available, and each has unique requirements that must be satisfied before they are granted. The most common among these nonimmigrant visas is the H visa. An H visa is available for foreign workers who are to be employed in a “specialty occupation,” which is defined by law to be an occupation that requires the application of specialized knowledge and possession of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in work experience.
There are many other of these nonimmigrant visas, and all of them require the employer to sponsor the prospective foreign worker. To sponsor means the employer must start the process of obtaining this visa by filing a petition with USCIS. The petition must be supported with documentary evidence and information to show that both the employer and the foreign worker meet the requirements for having a nonimmigrant approved.
Once the employer submits their petition, USCIS will review the petition and documentation filed. If they are satisfied the documents meet the requirements, they will approve the petition. The foreign worker will then apply for their visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country they reside. If they are in the U.S. and in another valid immigration status, they can apply to change their status to the new visa category.
Unless an exception applies, obtaining an employment-based green card requires the employer to first seek and obtain “labor certification.” This is verification by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that the employer cannot find suitable American workers to take the position being offered to the foreign worker and that the foreign worker will be paid prevailing wages.
Once the employer obtains the labor certification, they will file a petition with USCIS for the foreign worker to be given a green card. The petition can be concurrently filed with the foreign worker’s green card application or separately. If separately, the foreign worker will apply for a green card in their country of residence after the petition is approved, or if they are in the U.S. and eligible, they can apply for an adjustment of status.
If you are in the 60191 area code and need an employment immigration lawyer, look no further than Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan. Please contact us today and request a consultation to discuss your case.