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Hiring Foreign Employees: What You Need to Know

Hiring Foreign Employees: What You Need to Know

No matter your political or social leanings, immigration seems to be the hot-button issue that’s top-of-mind in our public discourse right now. And if you’re thinking about hiring foreign workers to supplement your current workforce, it’s likely an even more pressing issue for you. But don’t let the beltway chatter deter you. While there is a lot of red tape you’ll have to work through to bring in non-U.S. talent, our current immigration laws offer several viable options for hiring foreign employees. Regardless of which pathway to employment you choose, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you move forward.

Prepare yourself for a lengthy process.

One of the major drawbacks of sourcing specialized foreign talent is that your organization will have to prepare itself for a lengthy lead time. Depending on which immigration program your company decides to use, the process could take months or even years before the employee is able to start work. So implement your plan with the long game in mind — you won’t be able to decide that you need specific STEM skills this week and have that person at your doorstep within the next.

Help thwart recruitment issues with a written policy.

Newer immigration policies have made it tougher for companies to find and hire qualified foreign applicants, with more intense scrutiny being applied to the processing of H1-B visas. At the Council for Global Immigration’s 2017 Symposium, 63% of attendees said their companies had a written policy for recruiting and retaining foreign nationals. And having a defined set of guidelines can help companies appropriately engage the right parties to ensure that they cut through the red tape as painlessly as possible.

Decide which immigration program you’re going to use.

There are a number of ways to bring international employees to the United States, including H1-B Visa Sponsorship, National Interest Waiver and Student Exchange Programs. The pathway your company chooses will largely depend on the specifics of the situation. What role will they be fulfilling? Are they planning on becoming permanent citizens or simply working temporarily? Considerations such as these will drive your decision.

Perform a thorough background check.

Current U.S. immigration policy does a good job of ensuring that immigrant employees have been thoroughly vetted and are upstanding citizens. But depending on the specific requirements of your industry, more background information may be needed — including a full drug screening. Make sure to work with a qualified provider to maintain compliance with all laws that govern your business.

Need help screening international applicants? Let JDP help!

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