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By Yadira Zepeda
Managing Attorney

Tapping into the foreign employment market is a great way for a growing business to staff up. Many foreign workers have specialized skill sets together with a desire to relocate to the United States, even if only for a short period of time. However, you cannot simply hire a foreign worker and put them to work as soon as they arrive in America. There is a specific process you must go through with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to sponsor their employment and help them obtain the proper visa. Your immigration attorney will be happy to work with you each step of the way. 

Step 1: Determine the position the worker will fill 

When you are hiring a foreign worker, you cannot just fill a general position. You must determine the specific position that he or she will fill, and make sure to have a job description with as much specificity as possible. This is different from hiring someone who is an American citizen or is already in the country on a Green Card or valid work visa. This is the key difference to sponsoring an individual foreign worker. 

Step 2: Review the prospective employee’s qualifications 

You will need to find out from the foreign worker a great deal of information before you can start the visa process. This includes verification of any foreign college degrees, advanced degrees like law or medicine, and foreign employment. If the foreign worker resides in a country where the official language is not English, you will need to get official translations of each document, along with certified copies of official documents. You will also need a great deal of personal information on the job candidate, such as birth certificates, criminal background checks, and the like. All of this information will be necessary to make sure the foreign worker qualifies for the position. This documentation will also be needed for the visa application.

Step 3: Determine the right visa category 

There are a number of different visas for foreign workers, such as the EB-1 priority workers for executives, professors, researchers, and others with extraordinary abilities, and the EB-3, which is designed for skilled and unskilled labor. The H-1B is similar to the EB-1, but it is a nonimmigrant visa used for temporary employment. An experienced immigration attorney will help walk you through the different visa types so you can determine the one that fits your foreign worker’s situation the best. 

Step 4: Department of Labor approval 

Sometimes, an employer sponsoring a foreign worker will need to go through an approval process with the Department of Labor. This depends on the visa category and type of work that is expected to be performed by the employee. If this is the situation with your foreign workers, then you will need to show that the admission of the foreign workers you are sponsoring will not have an adverse effect on the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of American employees. In this situation, you will need to show that the salary and benefits for the foreign worker are typical of those for the position you are seeking to fill. The Department of Labor is making sure that you are not looking to replace current employees with cheaper labor from abroad. 

Step 5: Filing the Visa application 

You will now need to prepare and file the Visa application. In general, you will need to use one of two forms. The I-129 petition is used for a nonimmigrant worker who will be staying in the United States for a limited time, usually three years depending on the nonimmigrant visa category. The I-140 petition is used to obtain permanent residency status under certain

employment-based immigrant visa categories. You will need to go over this with your immigration attorney to make sure you are using the proper petition form, and to ensure that everything is filled out correctly. 

There is often a delay in the processing of visa applications by the USCIS. This is why it may make sense to pay an additional fee for premium processing. This can get your application expedited, with the USCIS sometimes rendering a decision in as little as 15 days. If your petition is rejected, you do have the right to file an appeal on behalf of the foreign worker that you are sponsoring. 

If you are planning to sponsor a foreign worker, call our firm today 

Sponsoring foreign workers is a great way to improve your company’s business, but it is a very complex process. This is why you should retain the services of the experienced immigration attorneys at Zepeda Law Firm, PLLC. We will assist you with the process every step of the way, helping you get the right visa for the foreign workers you are considering for employment.

About the Author
Yadira Zepeda, is the principal attorney and founder of Zepeda Law Firm, PLLC. With over 18 years of immigration law experience, representing people from around the world, she is recognized in her field and community as an expert in the U.S. Immigration laws. She has built her practice on mostly referrals as her aim has always been to be more intimate and personal with clientele. While other firms have paralegals conduct consultations, she handles all initial consults with clients and oversees each case. Her goal is to provide kindness and sincerity to each case in a very intimidating process.