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How to Hire Foreign Nationals for Your Institution


If you’re having trouble finding the right person for a role or would like to bring an employee onto your team that has in-depth knowledge regarding the market of another country, consider hiring foreign nationals. A foreign national is a person who is not a United States citizen but can work inside the country without being naturalized. Foreign workers can perform numerous jobs, including engineers and therapists, and they can be integral parts of your organization.

However, hiring a qualified candidate from overseas requires the approval of numerous United States government agencies, and the application process can be complicated. If you’re interested in hiring foreign nationals for your organization, here are the steps you should familiarize yourself with to add international expertise to your team.

Obtain a Certification From the Department of Labor

Companies that intend to hire foreign nationals must begin the process as soon as possible. The procedure can take an extended duration of time due to bureaucratic issues, so it may be several months or more than a year before your international employee can begin employment at your institution. 

The first step is to submit relevant documents and forms to the United States Department of Labor, including evidence that proves you can pay the foreign employee appropriately, that you need the services of a foreign national, and that you satisfy the criteria for a foreign labor certification program. The certifications that a potential international employee must complete will vary based on their occupation.

Additionally, applicants must fulfill the Foreign Labor Certification. This system was created so that the admission of a foreign employee will not negatively affect the wages and job opportunities of United States Workers.

Acquiring a Visa

After the numerous applications and certifications have been approved, employers must petition the United States Citizen and Immigration services for a visa for their international candidate. While it is possible to hire a potential employee before they’ve acquired their work visa, they cannot begin legally working until they have obtained it. In the event an international candidate already has a work visa, you can confirm its legitimacy with Form 1-9.

As with the Department of Labor certifications, waiting for the approval of a visa can take time, and given that employers are responsible for petitioning the visa, you must be proactive and timely with your approach. Furthermore, it is possible for the visa petition to be denied when the certifications were approved, so do not consider their acceptance as a guarantee that your international employee will be able to work. 

Once the candidate you hired was approved for a work visa, there are still steps left in the process. For example, they must acquire a Social Security number and become subjected to payroll taxes. Communicating these steps with your international hire can help facilitate the process and allow you to submit their applications and petition sooner.

If you need assistance filing for an EB-1 visa or checking an individual’s H-1B petition status, contact Klasko Immigration Law Partners for help. Our experienced team can help further your understanding of immigration law and lend a hand with hiring foreign nationals and other legal services.

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