Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

Employer's Nonimmigrant Visa Overview

Q: What is critical for me as an employer to remember when hiring a foreign national employee on a non-immigrant visa?

A: First, that from the perspective of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you are not "filling the position" but merely hiring a temporary employee. Any non-immigrant visa you obtain for an employee will be temporary, and it is important to be clear about this from a planning perspective regarding your future plans for the position - and possibly for the employee.

Many employers institute a probationary period (frequently six months) after which a determination will be made on starting the process sponsorship of the employee for permanent residence. This determination often includes plans to change the employee's status to a visa which permits applications for permanent residence.

Q: What obligation am I incurring as an employer by signing paperwork to sponsor a potential employee for a non-immigrant visa?

A: Overall, as with any legally binding paperwork you sign, you are promising that the information you present in the paperwork is factually correct and that you will perform on any promises you make in the document. Precisely what promises you are making depends on the type of visa being applied for (our office would provide case-specific guidance).

Normally, you are simply promising to employ the potential foreign national employee in the position described and under the terms and conditions described in the application (he or she will perform the job duties described at the location or locations specified in return for the wages and benefits promised). Certain visas carry additional responsibilities, most notably the H-1B visa.

Q: Are there ways that I can get the benefit of hiring a foreign national (or hire a foreign national on a trial basis) without going through the process of non-immigrant visa sponsorship?

A: Yes, there is a way to do this for certain types of positions. For professional positions where a college graduate is required, there are ways to hire students or recent students.

While still in school, a foreign national on an F-1 student visa may obtain "curricular practical training" - work authorization to work in what is normally an intern-type position for up to 20 hours per week.

After graduation, an F-1 student may obtain one year of "Optional Practical Training" - authorization to work for up to one year, full-time, in the field in which they recently received a degree. Remember that such arrangements are very limited in duration; longer-term planning is critical once the value of the employee to your enterprise is determined.

Contact us here to arrange a consultation, to inquire about retaining us to handle your immigration matter, or simply to suggest topics you would like to see covered on our site.

The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.