Basic Considerations When Hiring A Foreign Worker

Last updated on: May 24, 2022


Small businesses may from time to time need to hire a specific employee who may not be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and who may require special employment processing to ensure that the business is in compliance with federal law in terms of hiring a foreign worker.  Generally speaking, if the candidate has the proper paperwork and can provide a benefit to the business, small business owners should not shy away from hiring a foreign worker because of the extra steps that may go into verifying the candidate’s employment status.

Non-immigrant workers may work in the U.S. while on certain work authorized visas.  There are rules and regulations about what kinds of jobs can be given to some foreign workers; which is an effort to try and ensure that offering jobs to the foreign worker does not negatively affect the job opportunities or pay for U.S. workers.  The U.S. Department of labor has also issued guides on the rules an employer should follow in employing and paying a foreign employee, based in part on whether the employee is a temporary or permanent employee.

The ease of hiring a foreign worker also depends to a large extent on whether or not the person is already in the U.S., or the business has to support the person’s visa application.  For example, if the business has to make an application for a H-1B visa on behalf of an employee, there may be fees to be paid and paperwork to be prepared by the business.  However, if the employee is already in the country on a different visa that permits employment, then this may be a more straightforward hiring process.

In order to establish a potential employee or employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S., the small business employer is required to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form, usually known as an I-9 form for each employee.  Employers should complete the I-9 even for employees who say they are U.S. citizens.  The forms are to be kept by the business for three years, and can be randomly audited by immigration officials.  In completing the form, small business owners should keep in mind that it is against federal law to take action that may be considered discriminatory against a person based on their citizenship or national origin.

In order to determine the employee’s employment eligibility, the employer has to go further and check through E-Verify, an electronic system that can quickly provide the employer with information on an employee’s status.  Another way in which an employer may find out about an employee’s eligibility is through sending the employee’s W-2 tax forms to the Social Security Administration.  If the information does not match the agency’s records, there may be additional check by immigration officials.

Contact Us For Legal Assistance

If you are a small business considering hiring a non U.S. citizen, or concerned about your records in regards to the federal employment verification process, contact an attorney with experience in handling employment issues for small businesses.  Reach out to the North Miami business law attorney at the Charlip Law Group L.C. for a consultation today.

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