When we think of immigration – both the application process and obtaining resident status or citizenship – we tend to think of immigrants themselves. But businesses can play a large role in that process, by sponsoring the immigrant in hopes of obtaining them as a long-term employee. It can be a win-win situation for both the employer and the immigrant employee.
Sponsorship includes responsibilities
Immigrant labor is critical to many industries. An employer may find sponsorship beneficial when there is a shortage of potential employees nationally, forcing them to look abroad to fill certain positions. Fortunately, U.S. immigration law recognizes this need and provides a path forward.
Typically, an employer begins the sponsorship process by obtaining permanent labor certification through the Department of Labor (DOL). The employer submits detailed information about the prospective employee and the job they are intended to do. The DOL’s role is to ensure that the shortage of labor faced by the employer is real, and that hiring the immigrant will not adversely affect U.S. workers. When the DOL provides its approval, that certification is good for 180 days.
Following DOL certification, the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition is evidence that the employer intends to hire the immigrant and establish a long-term employment relationship with them.
There are many different potential labor classifications to choose from and the proper one must be selected when the petition is filed. The correct classification depends upon the nature of the work the immigrant is intended to do. Because of the complexity of the requirements, employers should seek the assistance of a professional who is experienced in U.S. immigration law. They can help to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.