In an age of global commerce, businesses of all sizes must bring in expertise from all over the world. A company cannot afford to ignore competent, prospective employees, regardless of their country of origin. As much as foreign national workers can contribute to your business, they create a range of legal issues, and many companies that hire immigrants break the law without even realizing it. David Hirson & Partners is committed to helping you avoid any problems with US immigration laws. Our team is trained to deal with all business immigration issues, including:
- I-9 Compliance Issues
- Working Hours and Forced Absences
- Legal Status Compliance Issues
- Immigration Issues related to Reductions in Force or Layoffs
- FDNS Work Site Visits
Business immigration issues often arise when employers try to reduce foreign national employees’ wages and hours. Most visa categories require employers to pay foreign nationals at least the prevailing wage set for the job category as established by the Department of Labor. Though most employers have no trouble doing this when profits are high, problems arise during periods of economic decline. Any reduction in pay to foreign nationals, even as part of general wage reductions, may put you in violation of immigration law. Other potential areas of immigration violation as they relate to foreign workers include reduction of hours, transferring to off-site, leaves of absence (both voluntary and involuntary).
In an attempt to prevent migrant workers from being stranded in the US, some visa categories require employers to notify USCIS and the Department of Labor after a foreign national has been terminated and in some cases, employers are responsible for providing reasonable costs for return transportation. USCIS has taken the view that some petitions are valid until revoked, which may leave the employer liable for wages to the foreign national even after termination.
Legal issues may also arise if employers terminate US workers while they have pending immigrant visa applications for foreign national employees in similar occupations. In order to address these concerns, both USCIS and the Department of Labor require internal recruitment for positions being offered to foreign nationals.
State and Federal immigration laws impose regulations on employers to verify a prospective employee’s eligibility for lawful employment in the United States. Employers who fail to comply with I-9 compliance regulations. Consequences include fines, worksite raids, damaged reputation, and criminal charges. On the other hand, attempting to verify the employment eligibility of prospective employees by asking detailed questions about race, citizenship, national origin, or other topics, employers are placing themselves at risk of discrimination lawsuits. To avoid these pitfalls, the best practice, for companies of any size, is to design a single verification policy that everyone in your company understands, and apply it equally to all employees. With over 35 years of collective experience in assisting with I-9 compliance and assisting companies with formulating immigration strategy, David Hirson & Partners will work with you to design a policy to avoid these potential pitfalls.