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Federal laws require all employers to verify the authorization of their employees to work in the United States. Employers who don't comply can face harsh penalties and fines. Employers Council has a legal staff who provides immigration assistance that is comprehensive, reliable, and cost effective. We can help you understand these requirements and conduct an audit if a greater review is desired.

Employees need not be U.S. citizens to work in the United States, so long as they have suitable work authorization. Obtaining the appropriate visa/work authorization for non-citizens is a complex process. We help employers every day obtain proper documentation for their valuable employees.

Need assistance with immigration compliance and visa consulting? Join Employers Council today! 


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Hiring Workers from Other Countries

If you’re hiring employees who are not U.S. citizens, there are a few boxes they need to check before they can legally do work in the United States. Non-U.S. citizens must first obtain a visa for employment before they can be legally employed. These visas fall into two categories:

Nonimmigrant visas

A nonimmigrant visa is for a person who lives outside of the United States, but is here on a temporary basis. They are often issued for things like tourism, medical care, education, or temporary employment opportunities.

In order for an employee to be issued a nonimmigrant visa, an employer must apply for them through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In some cases, an employer must also demonstrate to the Department of Labor (DOL) that the employee will not displace U.S. workers. Employers Council can help employers move through the application process to ensure that all employed labor is legal and compliant.

Immigrant visas

An immigrant visa is issued to non-citizens who wish to live permanently in the U.S. Legal permanent residence is often called LPR status or a green card, and is typically sought after for family (non-citizens who are relatives of U.S. citizens), diversity (non-citizens from countries with low-numbers of immigrations to the U.S. who are given visas through a lottery system), humanitarian reasons (asylum or refugees), and employment.

Workers issued immigration visas for employment include highly talented foreign nationals, non-citizens with offers in areas where U.S. workers are in short supply, and entrepreneurs investing in the United States. A total pool of 140,000 visas per year are allotted to those seeking employment-sponsored visas, and they are divided into the following preference categories:

  • First Employment-Based Preference (40,000 visas per year)
    • Extraordinary Ability
    • Outstanding Professors and Researchers
    • Multinational Executives and Managers
  • Second Employment-Based Preference (40,000 visas per year)
    • Advanced Degrees
    • Exceptional Ability Professional
    • National Interest Waiver
  • Third Employment-Based Preference (40,000 visas per year, including roughly 5,000 visas per year for EB-3Cs)
    • Skilled Workers
    • Professionals
    • Other Workers
  • Fourth Employment-Based Preference (10,000 visas per year)
    • Certain ‘Special Immigrants’ and Religious Workers
  • Fifth Employment-Based Preference (10,000 visas per year)
    • ‘Employment Creation’ Immigrant Investors

Wherever your target employees fall in this hierarchy, Employers Council’s immigration experts can help you maximize the chances of getting an employment visa issued. Our extensive knowledge of the process can help you acquire the talent you need in a safe and compliant way.


The Role of Employers and HR in Hiring Non-Citizen Workers

Employers and HR professionals should be familiar with the process of obtaining visas so their organizations can hire the best talent possible. While there can be multiple government agencies involved and the steps can be complex, this is generally the required process for acquiring a visa for an employee:

1. Employers need to seek certification through an application to the Department of Labor (DOL)

2. Once the application is approved, the employer then can petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a visa, and the applicant (prospective employee) must show they are legally admissible to the U.S.

3. If the petition is approved, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will issue a visa to the applicant.

To help navigate the complexities and issues that may arise throughout this process (filing the correct paperwork with the right agencies, application windows, understanding the responses you may get, understanding the time commitment and correspondence needed from both your organization and the applicant in question, etc.), become a member of Employers Council. Our immigration and visa experts can help ensure a smooth process where you make the best case possible for a visa to be issued.

Consequences of Employing Undocumented Immigrants

U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) is the agency responsible for immigration worksite enforcement. To comply with federal law, employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of all workers they hire via an I-9. Employers can be subject to I-9 audits, where non-compliance can result in civil fines, referrals for debarment, the arrest of unauthorized workers who knowingly violated employment laws, and even the arrest of employers who knowingly employed undocumented workers. All employers must fill out an I-9 form within three days of an employee being hired and retain this form for verification audits. Some states have imposed rules in addition to the federal laws.

To avoid non-compliance, it’s important to ensure you keep valid and up-to-date I-9s and approach the hiring of non-citizen workers through the right legal channels. Employers Council can help you stay compliant with federal and state laws surrounding employee eligibility and verification, including:

  • I-9 audits and compliance
  • Immigration consulting
  • Visa consulting
  • Verification audits
  • Employee documentation
  • Legal support
  • And much, much more

Join Employers Council today to access these services and speak with experts in HR, compliance, and employment law.


Become a Member

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Who We Serve

We serve employers of all sizes by responding to requests for assistance with timely, considered advice and providing all the tools necessary to attract, hire, train, and retain the best possible workforce.


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Employers Council is more than 200 legal and HR professionals with experience and expertise in every facet of human resources and employment law. We are easily accessible and well equipped to address your issues.



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