According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), 32% of all immigrant adults in the US have a bachelor’s degree or higher. To get the full picture, 33% of US-born adults have the same educational background, which means that immigrants make up a large pool of higher-educated individuals in the US.
Now, we know that developing an Immigration Strategy is pretty challenging – you need to be aware of the rules in terms of immigration if you want to do it right and avoid potential penalties. But, we promise you that it’s worth it – keep on reading to see why.
How Companies Can Benefit from Having an Immigration Strategy
Filling a role that requires a highly qualified individual is not easy and having an immigration strategy is crucial.
Sure, the US is big and counts quite a lot of people but even then, you may not be able to find the right person for the job. This is because there are a number of things you need to think about when it comes to recruitment and hiring.
First things first, you want to find an individual that has a specific experience for that role.
For instance, imagine looking for an engagement manager. Now, maybe your company primarily collaborates with French companies. For that reason, you’ll probably need someone who speaks French and knows their culture, has extensive experience working with French companies, and knows your industry.
Furthermore, you also want someone who is a cultural fit. The stakes are high – one wrong person can destroy everything you worked for and make all your employees unhappy.
As you can see, you’re facing a difficult task as you may not be able to find a US-born adult that can meet all your criteria. So, why not hire someone who’s from France?
Well, you can, and this is exactly what immigration strategy is for. It helps you establish a solid framework that will allow you to manage your international recruitment practices in a consistent and legally compliant way.
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What HR Professionals Should Learn to Create the Immigration Strategy
1. Understand Different Types of Visas.
Before you start working on the company’s immigration strategy, you want to be familiar with the types of visas in the US.
There are two types of visas a foreigner can apply for if they want to work in the US: a temporary non-immigrant visa or a permanent (immigrant) workers visa.
Temporary non-immigrant visas are best for people looking to work in the United States for a fixed period of time. There are many sub-categories of non-immigrant visas such as:
- H-1B visas – for persons in a specialty occupation with a higher education degree or its equivalent;
- O visas – for persons with extraordinary abilities or achievements
- L visas – for persons working at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.
Permanent work visas are best suited for those that plan on staying in the US and working for a US employer. Just like with non-immigrant visas, you can find a couple of different sub-categories of visas:
- priority workers
- persons with advanced degrees and exceptional abilities
- professionals and other workers
- employment creation or investors
- certain special immigrants
Now, this may seem scary at first, especially if you don’t have any previous experience with immigration law. The good news is that you can always contact the best immigration lawyer in NYC and ask for help.
As time goes on, you’ll be able to handle this on your own.
2. Include Employment Eligibility Verification.
According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, all companies must help the federal government in preventing unauthorized persons from working in the United States (U.S.) through employment eligibility verification.
This process is very simple: all you need to do is include the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) Form I-9 in your hiring processes. This form basically requests that potential employees verify that they’re legally allowed to work in the US by submitting some additional documents, such as a social security card, birth certificate, and passport.
You should, of course, make sure that the candidate doesn’t find this insulting. You don’t want them to think you’re asking them to bring additional evidence just because they don’t look “American” to you.
3. Decide Which Perks You Want to Offer.
As an HR professional, you need to be aware of the fact that your future employee will likely need to change an important part of their life to accommodate the company’s needs. They’ll have to move to a different country. If they have a family, they’ll need to take care of them too. All that is very stressful.
For that reason, we encourage you to find ways to compensate them for all that. You can do that by offering temporary housing, or by covering their relocation expenses and expenses for dependent visa or green card sponsorship.
Don’t forget to create an onboarding plan that will ensure they meet other employees as soon as possible. This is especially important if they have no family or friends in the US because they may feel alone.
4. Conduct Periodical Audits.
Once you have created your immigration strategy, it’s time for an audit.
We advise you to conduct both internal and external audits. Any issues regarding immigration regulations must be resolved quickly because noncompliance can result in stiff civil or even criminal penalties. Also, regulations and practices change, so the only way you can be sure you’re up to date is by talking to an external auditor or an immigration lawyer.
We hope that this article helped you understand the importance of including an immigration strategy in your company’s policies and helped you understand what you need to know to create one.
So, how do you feel about an immigration strategy now?