American workers are allowed under U.S. immigration law to hire noncitizens but to do so, the employer must petition and get approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, getting approval to hire a foreign worker is no easy walk in the park. Both the U.S. employer and prospective foreign worker must meet strict requirements for obtaining a work visa for foreign workers.
At Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, there’s always an experienced employment immigration attorney ready to help clients in the 60602 zip code to get approval for these work visas.
Before one starts the process of obtaining a work visa for a potential foreign worker, the employer must first decide under what category to apply for the work visa. There are two broad categories under U.S. immigration law for work visas: nonimmigrant or permanent. Which category the employer decides to pursue will determine the process to go through in obtaining the visa and how long it will take.
A nonimmigrant work visa is a work visa available for a foreign employee to enter and work in the U.S. for a limited period. There are many types of these nonimmigrant visas available, and each one has unique requirements that both the employer and prospective foreign worker must satisfy before the visa is approved. The most common nonimmigrant visas are the H visa.
An H visa is a nonimmigrant visa available for foreign employees who are to work in a “specialty occupation.” To get approved for this H visa, the employer must show that the foreign worker is to work in an occupation that requires the application of specialized knowledge, and that the foreign worker has a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in work experience.
There are many more nonimmigrant visas available other than the H visa, but they each differ in what must be proven before the foreign worker is approved for the visa. A common requirement for all these nonimmigrant visas is having an offer of employment. This requires the American employer to file a petition with USCIS requesting that the foreign worker they have offered a job be given a work visa.
Obtaining a green card based on employment requires the employer to first go through the “labor certification” process. This is a process where the employer obtains verification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that the employer has tried but cannot find suitable American workers to take the job being offered to the foreign worker. The labor certification also verifies that the foreign worker will be paid prevailing wages.
Once the employer’s labor certification is obtained, the employer files a petition with USCIS for the prospective foreign worker to be given a green card. The petition can be filed at the same time as the foreign worker’s application for a green card. But the green card application can also be filed separately after the employer’s petition is approved. It is, however, best to file the petition and application for a green card at the same time in situations where that is possible.
If filing 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 60602 zip code and are looking for an employment immigration lawyer, contact our legal team at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.