With the pace of technology quickening each day, the H-1B work visa program has played an increasingly important role for Gulf Coast employers seeking to meet their need for high-skilled professionals.
Moreover, many of the region’s industries, especially the petrochemical sector, have aging staffs and are nearing what some experts have dubbed a retirement bubble. The bottom line is that the number of high-skilled, foreign-born workers in the United States is likely to continue increasing throughout the next several years.
The H-1B program, a non-immigrant visa established under the Immigration and Nationality Act, allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The program has proven popular, though the rules have grown significantly more complex. It’s essential for employers to remain vigilant in ensuring they fulfill all work-visa requirements.
Employers are encouraged to be in regular contact with their immigration attorneys. Even between H-1B seasons, employers should stay abreast of updates and check in with their attorney when anything in a foreign national’s employment changes.
To remain in H-1B compliance, employers should remember CAP – call, arrange, prepare.
Call your immigration attorney when:
Arrange systems and coordinate with various departments to make sure compliance issues are handled ahead of time. Arrangements should cover several things.
Prepare for a worksite inspection at any time of day. Most site inspections are random, unannounced and meant to detect fraud. They’re nothing to be overwhelmed or overly concerned about. In most cases, inspections are not an indication of a problem. Nevertheless, your company should be prepared when a site visit occurs.
Lugenbuhl associate Alla Nowowiejski (noh-voh-vee-ā-ski) focuses on U.S. immigration and nationality law. As leader of the firm’s business immigration section, she helps domestic and foreign businesses and investors in obtaining business-related visas for their workforce. Her expertise covers a wide range of issues, including assistance in obtaining Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researchers and Multinational Executives and Managers visas, EB-5 permanent residency, evaluating I-9 compliance in audit cases, designing human resource and immigration compliance policies and defending employers in Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security administrative proceedings. More information about her experience is available here.
The content of this article is not intended to serve as an exhaustive review of the laws, statutes or issues related to immigration law and is not intended to provide legal advice. The opinions expressed through this article may not reflect the opinions of the firm, individual attorneys or clients.
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