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Working in the United States
As an employer, you may need to hire foreign labor when a U.S. citizen is not available. As a starting point you will need to consider whether you wish to petition for permanent residence (a green card) for your prospective employee to work here permanently or whether you wish to petition for someone to come temporarily to the United States to fill an employment need.
Foreign workers may obtain permanent residence (a green card) if they are able to establish that they have unique skills, or are being offered a job in the United States that will not displace a U.S. worker or have an adverse effect on wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. This determination is made by the Department of Labor and is demonstrated by obtaining a “labor certification.”
Permanent worker visas are broken into five preference categories. For a description of the preference categories, see the “Permanent Workers” link to the left.
Department of Labor: Labor Certification
A U.S. employer who is “sponsoring” or petitioning for a permanent worker may be required to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) verifying that there are an insufficient number of available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to fill the position, and that the employment will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of similarly situated U.S. workers. For more information, see the “Permanent Labor Certification” link to the right.
Permanent Residence (a Green Card) Through a Job Offer
For information on how you can obtain a green card see the “Green Card Through a Job Offer” link to the right.
There are several temporary (nonimmigrant) categories which allow a foreign national to work in the United States. For a list of these nonimmigrant categories of temporary workers, as well as information on the petitioning process, see the “Temporary Workers” link to the left.
Department of Labor: Labor Condition Application
Some nonimmigrant categories require that a U.S. employer obtain a certification of labor condition application from the Department of Labor. That application requires the employer to state (“attest”) that it will comply with the following requirements:
How To Verify Employment Eligibility (Form I-9 and E-Verify)
All U.S. employers must verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work in the United States after November 6, 1986 by completing an Employment Eligibility Verification form (Forms I-9) for all employees, including U.S. citizens. Employers who hire or continue to employ individuals knowing that they are not authorized to be employed in the United States may face civil and criminal penalties.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/18/2010
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