Many employers suffering from labor shortages could benefit from hiring foreign nationals. Unfortunately, despite having several options for hiring foreign nationals, it is not always easy. Here are examples of such possibilities.
There is an annual allotment of 85,000 H-1B visas available annually to foreign nationals in specialty occupations who meet specific requirements. Unfortunately, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives more registrations for H-1B visas than it can approve. However, registrants not selected in the March lottery cap still have a chance. The USCIS holds a second lottery to fill the remaining H-1B visas to meet the annual allotment.
When a selected registrant does not file an H-1B petition in time, the cap registration reallocates to the waitlist. This reallocation means missing the first lottery is not the end-all-be-all. The individual may receive another chance if the USCIS holds a second lottery. Thankfully, the process is automatic if chosen in the second lottery.
H-1B status is retained for six years and counts only while the individual is in the United States. Additionally, the individual is not bound to a specific employer during these six years. Therefore, individuals working with the H-1B status can change employers anytime throughout the six years as long as the employer is willing to file for their employment. Additionally, the individual can begin work soon as the petition is filed with the USCIS, as the petition does not require approval.
Some holders of student-based visas are permitted to obtain temporary employment related to their study area. In some cases, individuals near the end of their F-1 optional practical training (OPT) or the two-year STEM OPT extension could consider returning to school in a different program of study. This flexibility will permit students to remain in the United States and receive curricular practical training (CPT) work authorization. However, this could affect the student’s ability to obtain OPT authorization and might require the student to leave the United States before they get H-1B status. Therefore, the student should discuss this option with legal counsel and the school before deciding.
These are just a few options for hiring foreign national workers during the current labor shortages. In addition, for those that employ foreign nationals, it will be necessary to complete Form I-9, which can be difficult due to ever-changing regulations and the many different available documents. Avoiding these problems is easy when using an electronic I-9 management system. Tools like this can guide employers through employment verification and ensure hiring personnel know which documents are suitable to prove work authorization.
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