Steps for hiring a foreign worker

A U.S. business owner may choose to hire foreign workers for a number of reasons. For example, some industries are facing critical shortages of skilled workers, and hiring foreign nationals is a reasonable way to fill the void. Other employers seek workers who can help them succeed in the global market by overcoming language and cultural barriers. Still, more can bring fresh ideas and innovation to a company. However, to hire foreign workers requires companies to follow certain steps and rules for employment-based immigration. 

To begin with, a company must contact the U.S. Department of Labor to obtain the correct certification. The DOL will evaluate and certify a company that can prove it has a legitimate vacancy and a need to fill the position with a foreign worker at the prevailing wage. Only after receiving certification can the company begin to search for a qualified candidate or recruit through approved channels. While this part of the hiring process is similar to hiring a U.S. citizen, the company will also have to do the following: 

  • Prepare for differences between U.S. resumes and those from other countries 
  • Arrange for interviews, either by traveling or through virtual methods 
  • Allow time for candidates to deal with any immigration issues that may otherwise disqualify them 
  • Petition the U.S. government for a work visa for the chosen candidate 
  • Understand and comply with all applicable tax laws  

It is important for companies seeking foreign workers to know the laws related to employment-based immigration. There are numerous categories of visas for workers, and some have a limited number of visas available. Companies hiring foreign workers should be prepared for delays and setbacks on the way to their goals.