Obtaining Work Permission For Your Foreign Employees
Representing companies of all sizes from our Washington D.C. office
Deutsch, Killea and Eapen represents U.S. companies large and small in securing work permission for their foreign employees in the form of temporary work visas or U.S. permanent residence (“green card”). There are different types of work visas available, based on the particular job and the employee’s qualifications. However, U.S. immigration law will not allow a company to use foreign workers to undercut prevailing wages or otherwise disadvantage American workers, so it is often necessary to clear the position before you can hire a foreign candidate. Our immigration attorneys have specific knowledge about which type of visa application is appropriate, and we can advise on the best way to obtain permission for your employee(s) to work in the United States.
Understanding the most common types of temporary work visas
With more than 60 years of collective experience in most aspects of immigration law, the attorneys of Deutsch, Killea and Eapen can assist your employees in obtaining the appropriate authorizations. We focus on difficult immigration situations and strive to make the process as smooth as possible for our clients. The temporary visas our business clients seek include:
- H1B, Professional Worker — Companies can hire foreign professional workers for up to six years, sometimes longer. The position must be in a “specialty occupation,” requiring a certain type of university degree. The salary must at least match the “prevailing wage” that Americans make in the same position and the same geographical area. The annual quota of 85,000 H1B workers fills each year, so timing of the application is crucial.
- H-4, Dependents of H1B, Workers – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is extending eligibility for work authorization to H-4 spouses of certain H1B workers who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. Eligible individuals include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H1B workers who: (1) have an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or; (2) have been granted H-1B status beyond the six-year limit.
- F-1, Students – F-1 students completing their academic program may apply for a 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permit. Students with qualifying STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering or mathematics), working for employers participating in E-Verify, are eligible for an additional 17-month OPT work permit. F-1 students still working on their degrees may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work permits. In either case, the work is supposed to be directly related to the student’s major area of study. CIS’ web site contains full information about OPT and CPT work permits.
- L-1, Intracompany Transferee — U.S. companies may transfer high-level employees from their foreign affiliates to work in the United States. L-1A is a highly advantageous category, in that it provides an expedited path to U.S. permanent residence. The employee must be a “manager,” “executive” or person with “specialized knowledge” who has worked for at least one year in the U.S. company’s foreign parent, subsidiary, or commonly-owned and controlled affiliate and is coming to the U.S. to work as a manager, executive or person with specialized knowledge.
- E-1, Treaty Trader — Foreign persons from qualifying countries may reside in the U.S., indefinitely, through the E-1 treaty trader visa. The trader must come to the United States solely to carry on substantial international trade, primarily between the U.S. and the trader’s country of origin.
- E-2, Treaty Investor — Foreign investors from qualifying countries may reside in the U.S., indefinitely, if they buy into an existing company or start a new one. The investment must be a “substantial” amount given the industry and company involved. However, the investment may not be the sole source of the investor’s U.S. income.
- O-1, Extraordinary Ability Scientist, Artist, Businessperson or Athlete — A company may hire a “top” performer in a specialized field. For example, a research facility or university may hire a truly accomplished scientist, or an art school can hire an artist of high recognition or commercial success. The employer must document the foreign employee’s accomplishments and credentials in great detail to the satisfaction of US CIS.
- R-1, Religious Worker — Houses of worship, schools and other religious organizations may employ foreign religious ministers, teachers and other religious professionals or workers. US CIS requires proof of the sponsoring employer’s religious bona fides, as well as the foreign worker’s religious training. USCIS physically inspects the employer’s worksite before approving these cases, which can cause long delays before approval.
An experienced attorney at our firm can help you determine which type of temporary work visa is right for your situation.
Obtaining U.S. permanent residence (“green card”) through employment
There are a number of employment-based categories that lead to U.S. permanent residence. Our immigration attorneys can assist you in applying through the appropriate employment-based category with the greatest chance of success:
- EB-1: Persons with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sciences, business or athletics, “outstanding professors or researchers,” or multinational executives.
- EB-2: Advanced-degreed professionals or persons with “exceptional ability” in their respective fields in areas where the Department of Labor has certified that qualified workers are not available in the U.S.
- EB-3: Skilled workers, unskilled workers or professionals in areas where the Department of Labor has certified that qualified workers are not available in the U.S.
- EB-4: “Special immigrants,” such as International Organization (G-4) employees and their families, and religious workers.
- EB-5: Foreign “entrepreneurs” who want to invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in the United States to create U.S. employment. We are affiliated with an expert EB-5 attorney, who would be happy to discuss your situation with you.
Deutsch, Killea and Eapen can answer your questions on immigration law for your business, whether your organization is in the private, governmental, non-profit or educational sector.
Contact our immigration law firm for assistance in obtaining work permission for foreign national employees
Deutsch, Killea and Eapen, based in Washington D.C., is ready to help your business accomplish its staffing goals through the visa process. Though the process can be long and complex, we can help you meet the necessary requirements to employ and hire foreign employees. Call one of our attorneys at (202) 728-0820 or contact us through our online inquiry form.