In the global workplace where companies seek to bring in talent from outside the country as well as send employees on foreign assignments, a corporate legal department is often approached about immigration process and procedure. Where does an in-house attorney go for accurate, accessible information?
Here are a few resources to help you make sense of the immigration questions that come across your desk:
1. Working in the US (USCIS.gov) - Provides an overview of the occupations through which foreign workers can apply for work status in the U.S such as researchers, religious workers, engineers, scientists, athletes, and others. It also reviews the three main types of worker status that are granted: temporary (nonimmigrant) worker, permanent (immigrant) worker, and students and exchange visitors.
2. Petition Process Overview (USCIS.gov) - Working in the U.S. requires employers to file a petition. The first step is selecting the correct petition. The options are:
- Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129): this includes H-1B for specialty occupations, I for representatives of foreign information media, H-1B2 Department of Defense worker, E-1 treaty traders and more.
- Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140): includes employment-based immigrants such as multinational executives, outstanding professors or researchers, professional or skilled workers, Schedule A nurses and physical therapists, and others.
- Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360)
- Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526)
3. Visas: H-1B - Press Releases (USCIS.gov) - Considering the changing nature of H1-B Visa regulations, USCIS has dedicated a page to press releases related to this particular Visa.
4. Employer's Tasks When Sponsoring a Worker for a Green Card (FindLaw) - Walks employers through the labor certification process, step-by-step.
5. New Developments on Verifying Employment Eligibility (FindLaw) - Discusses developments in requirements of Form I-9, verification of a new hire's identity and work eligibility.
6. Immigration and Employment Eligibility FAQ (FindLaw) - Answers common questions including immigration considerations when hiring and firing employees and employers' responsibility to ensure authentication of identification documents.
7. Questions and Answers: USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for FY 2010 Beginning April 1, 2009 (USCIS.gov) - Common questions regarding H-1B petitions for 2009, subject to the fiscal year 2010 cap.
Immigration issues are not only a major concern for employees and potential employees but can have affect a company's operations. Use the resources as a starting point to understand immigration topics that can impact your company.