US immigration law allows American workers to hire non-citizens to take jobs they have available if certain requirements are met. However, it is one thing to have what it takes to meet these requirements, but it’s quite a different matter—and often a frustrating one to go through the immigration process to get a visa for the foreign worker. At Minsky McCormick & Hallagan, we have experienced employment immigration lawyers who help clients in Addison to navigate this complex immigration system and obtain the work visas they desire for their prospective foreign workers.
The process of obtaining a work visa starts with the employer filing a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but in some cases, the process may have to start with obtaining “labor certification” from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). This labor certification is DOL verification that the employer cannot find qualified American workers to take the position being offered to the foreign worker.
Whether you can petition straight with USCIS or whether you must first obtain labor certification depends on the type of visa being sought.
There are two broad categories of employment visas available: nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. Each category has specific requirements that must be satisfied before a visa is approved so even before you embark on the process of obtaining either one, it is important to have an experienced employment immigration guide you as to what are your best options.
A nonimmigrant visa is one that is given for a specific period, typically three years. Foreign workers given this visa must return to their native countries, or at least they must leave the United States on or before the expiration of their authorized work period. In some cases, the foreign worker may be able to change their visa to a different category that would allow them to legally remain and work in the United States beyond the validity period authorized. These nonimmigrant visas are issued in many subcategories, but the most common ones are H1, H2, and L1.
An immigrant visa is, in fact, a green card obtained through employment. To obtain this employment-based green card, the employer must first obtain labor certification, a rigorous process by which the employer is required to show proof that they cannot find American workers to take the job being offered to the foreign worker.
Once this labor certification is obtained, the employer will then petition the USCIS for the prospective foreign worker to be approved for a green card, which they can apply for in their native countries or in the United States if they are already here and are eligible for “adjustment of status,” a legal process by which one becomes a US permanent resident without leaving the United States.
If you are an employer in the Addison area and wish to hire one or more foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis, contact us today and request a consultation.