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Top 4 issues to consider when hiring a foreign national

1. When will the foreign national be able to work?
The foreign national may or may not be able to start work immediately. For certain visas like the TN visa, obtaining a visa authorizing work is not as time consuming as other visas and can be accomplished very quickly. However, other visas like the O-1 require a processing time of at least a few months. H-1B visas have an estimated processing time of about 3 months AND are not available year-round because of the cap on the total number available each year. These potential delays must be factored in a company’s staffing plans especially with time-sensitive projects.

2. The foreign national will have a temporary period of work authorization:
A foreign national will have a limited temporary period of time to work in the U.S. After the expiration of his current visa status, he will have to seek an extension if available, change to a different temporary status, have applied to adjust his status to permanent residency, or leave the country.

3. Costs associated with immigration matters:
The employer will have to discuss with the foreign national whether the company or the applicant will be responsible for the INS filing fees, costs, and legal fees incurred when seeking a work visa or green card. Given that the expenses can be substantial, if the employer is considering offering to pay for these expenses, the employer must weigh the value that the foreign national will provide to the company versus the financial commitment.

4. Restrictions:
Certain visas require that the employer comply with specific requirements. For example, institutions sponsoring J-1 visa holders will need to make sure that these foreign nationals purchase the federally mandated health care and repatriation insurance. J-1 sponsors also need to prepare an annual report summarizing their J-1 program.

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