The immigration process can be daunting, but it shouldn’t deter your business from securing the talent it needs to grow. Knowing how to best navigate the system and the options available to you are the keys to success.
Overall, there are nine options for safely and successfully hiring immigrant talent to help your company thrive that I advise my clients to consider.
In Part 1, I discussed the first five options, which were:
- Only hire U.S. contractors and employees with employment authorization.
- Start thinking about the April 2020 H-1B lottery now.
- You can get an O-1A visa for an expert at any time of the year (no lottery).
- Get organized to streamline the process.
- Start the green card process for Indian and Chinese employees right away.
I’m excited to pick up where we left off last time with the four more options to help you and your company recruit and retain the best and the brightest talent. These are all great options, and the more you know about them, you more effectively you can use them. So, let’s dive in.
6. Consider paying for your employee’s good faith marriage-based green cards
We all want everybody to succeed based on their own merits and accomplishments. Although I am an ardent feminist, the truth is that under our current immigration laws and policy, a good faith marriage offers the fastest route to a green card. I often inform our clients of this path, as well as all other employment-based green card options.
Some employers understand this benefit and elect to pay for their employees to get green cards through their spouses. Factors affecting the decision can include:
- A marriage-based green card enables the spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to work in the U.S. after about six months through obtaining a work permit.
- Spouses of U.S. citizens are exempt from green card quotas, so there’s no backlog for any particular country.
- Filing for a marriage-based green card is typically quicker and less costly than sponsoring an employment-based green card (provided the marriage is genuine).
7. Look to certain countries for recruiting
I’m always mindful about pointing out that a handful of visa options exist for specific individuals or individuals from specific countries. For instance:
- The E-2 visa allows foreign investors to live and work in the U.S. if their home country has an investment treaty with the U.S., and they start a company that creates jobs. The E-2 is available for many countries, including many European nations, Japan, Australia, Canada, and even Iran, as well as recently Israel and New Zealand. At this time, China and India are among the countries that do not have such treaties with the U.S. The E-2 is also great for employees because any employee who has skills that are essential to the business whose citizenship matches that of the owners of the company can also qualify to get a work visa in the U.S.
- TN visas ensure an employer can hire professionals from Canada or Mexico. Currently, there are no limits on the number of TN visas issued or the number of times a TN visa is renewed (TN visas are renewable every three years).
- An H-1B1 specialty occupation visa is essentially an H-1B visa earmarked for citizens of Chile and Singapore. Thanks to special treaties the U.S. has with Chile and Singapore, professionals from these countries may qualify to receive this visa on a fast-track basis. Each year, the U.S. reserves 1,400 H-1B1 visas for Chileans and another 5,400 for Singaporeans. While the demand for H-1B visas far outstrips the annual supply, the number of available H-1B1 visas is rarely — if ever — completely exhausted.
- The E-3 visa allows Australians to live and work in the U.S. in a position that requires specialized knowledge, similar to the H-1B. An E-3 visa holder’s spouse is also eligible for a work permit.
8. Transfer people between your international offices
Representatives from international companies are sometimes delighted when I tell them that there are a few options for transferring employees to the U.S from offices abroad. For instance:
- L-1A visas allow employers to transfer a manager or executive to run a U.S. office.
- L-1B visas allow employers to transfer an employee with unique knowledge of a company’s products, procedures, or other important information to live and work in the U.S.
- EB-1C green cards enable employers to bring an executive or manager that have at least a year with the company to the U.S. to live and work permanently.
9. Consider hiring interns
This one sometimes gets overlooked, but I’ve found it helpful on more than a few occasions. If your company wants to bring recent graduates of universities abroad to the U.S. for a one-year training program, you can get them J-1 visas. Companies can also bring people to the U.S. who have more work experience for an 18-month training program with a J-1 visa. There is also a 5-year option for researchers.
To receive a J-1 visa, individuals need to prove to the satisfaction of the consular officers that they maintain strong ties to their home country and intend to return at the end of the training program. “Nonimmigrant intent” is required.
With help, you can recruit and retain the best talent
I’m passionate about helping people overcome borders to pursue their dreams; it’s part of my law firm’s mission. In my experience, companies that stay informed and reach out to an immigration lawyer can stay on a safe and secure path to growth — and that the best talent on Earth can fuel that growth, regardless of where they were born.
Sophie Alcorn and Atrium frequently work together to advise clients with respect to immigration matters. To keep informed on similar topics or to read other articles authored by Sophie, follow her and Alcorn on LinkedIn and the Alcorn Blog.