As an employer, you want to make sure that you make things as easy as possible for any new people joining your team. However, things can get complicated quickly when visas are involved, and if you are not careful you could find yourself at risk of liability. Here are a few reasons why it is always best to seek legal advice.
The laws change
Talk to a lawyer about how the latest changes in immigration law could affect the visa application. Remember how the Biden administration reversed President Trump’s moves towards making it harder for Dreamers to stay in the US. Find out what has changed in the last few years and ask if there are likely to be more changes while the process is underway.
There are many different types of immigration visa
Find out which visa you need for the employee in question by consulting an immigration lawyer. Talk to them about how your industry may have specific requirements or potential opportunities. Be clear on how long the employee is likely to be working with you as this will dictate the type of visa you should apply for. Ask about whether the H2A visa program is worth exploring if you are in agriculture and you need seasonal support. Find out what requirements each specific visa has, such as trying to find US workers to fill the job or guaranteeing that employing non-US workers will not negatively impact the wages of US workers.
The process might be long
Prepare yourself for a lengthy process when you are sponsoring an immigrant employee’s visa. Remember that you still have a business to run and there will be issues that may arise suddenly. Keep in mind that new COVID-19 restrictions both in the US and abroad may impact the employee’s ability to travel. Talk to your attorney about how involved you need to be in the process once you have provided them with all the information and necessary paperwork.
The employee may complicate matters
Remember that you are only half of the party that is applying for a visa. Talk to the employee in question about any potential issues that may complicate their application. Ask if they have a family that they are hoping to bring with them. Brief your lawyer on every element of their history and situation before you begin the visa application process and find out if any of this impacts their application. Stay in touch with them to make sure that there are no surprises waiting for you. Continue to update the prospective employee as frequently as you can.