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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: As shelter in place orders are executed for the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and throughout the U.S. in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic H1B remote employment rises. Read more

How to hire a foreign employee for short-term work in the US

Approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available each fiscal year to international applicants seeking work in the United States. If you want to hire a foreign national for employment in the U.S., the process can seem overwhelming. Determining which forms to fill out, what government agency they need to go to and when can be a struggle if you do not know where to start.

Form I-129

Under certain circumstances, an employer may file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. This petition is also known as form I-129 and it needs to be registered with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As an employer, you can complete this paperwork on behalf the prospective foreign national employee. If approved, the future employee can apply for admission into the United States, or for a change of nonimmigrant status, in which they will be able to work or to receive training.

Skills preference

There are numerous temporary employment-based visa categories. Under all of these groups, the foreign national must meet specific requirements for the job covered in the petition. Visa preference categories can range from multinational managers to professionals holding an advanced degree to unskilled workers filling positions that require less than two years training or experience.

Employers must keep USCIS informed of any firings, termination of employment, or changes in the employee's eligibility. In order to update an employee's status, you need to submit a letter to the USCIS Service Center that approved the application. As an employer, you also have many other labor-related responsibilities separate from those required under the immigration laws.

Many businesses find it prudent to hire experience counsel when making decisions about hiring from outside the U.S. A skilled immigration attorney can assist you in navigating the bureaucratic waters when it comes to employment immigration.

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