How Manufacturing Companies Can Use Alternative Visa Options

Manufacturing companies in need of skilled workers should make sure they consider countries that the United States has treaties with. Countries with which the United States has treaties can offer a source of non-professional employees with a variety of skills.

A majority of manufacturing companies are having considerable difficulty finding a sufficient number of skilled workers. The open positions are often not for professional jobs but still require skilled workers, which can complicate the search for these workers. Some of these companies work with contractors or subcontractors to help complete their work. These subcontractors and contractors may even be from foreign countries. This is more common when the contractors or subcontractors are from a country in which the industry that they are a part of is very competitive with the United States.

Unfortunately for these manufacturers, they cannot use many of the employment-based visas for obtaining skilled non-professional workers because a number of visas, such as the H-1B and TN visas, require that the job be for a professional or require a bachelor’s degree. However, manufacturing companies do have other options for obtaining the skilled workers they need. They may be able to obtain these skilled workers from countries with which the United States has a qualified international agreement or a treaty of commerce. There are many countries that the United States has navigation or commerce treaties with, and this would qualify these countries for E-1 or E-2 visas.

E-1 visas are available for organizations or foreign individuals involved in a trade that occurs primarily between the treaty country and the United States. Whereas E-2 visas are available to organizations or foreign individuals that are currently in the process of investing a significant amount of capital in a business in the United States or have already invested a substantial amount in an enterprise in the United States. Additionally, some citizens of the treaty countries may also be eligible for E-2 visas. This would include supervisors, executives, as well as employees that have special qualifications that the enterprise needs for its operations.

The term “special qualifications” has a broad definition in this situation and thus may allow some non-professional skilled workers that are not supervisors or executives who have skills that are necessary for the treaty enterprise’s operation to qualify for E-2 visas.

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This means that with the current labor shortage, more professions may qualify than previously had.

Workers with E-1 and E-2 visas may remain in the United States for two years and then can extend their stay every two years if the investment or underlying trade continues to be maintained and the employee is still a supervisor, executive, or has skills necessary for operations.

Once a company hires a foreign national worker, they will need to complete Form I-9. For many employers, this is not a simple process, and the best way to ensure compliance is to use an electronic I-9 management tool. This can guide employers through the entire process and ensure documentation is stored securely.

Our I-9 Compliance tool will help quickly verify your employment eligibility automatically.