Immigrant Employment Laws
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What are Immigrant Employment Laws?
Immigrant employment laws regulate the employment of non-citizens in the United States. This is a very broad area of law that covers requirements for both foreign employee, as well as the domestic employers hiring immigrants. Such laws deal with issues like:
- Work visa requirements and applications for foreign nationals wishing to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of employment
- Restrictions on the number of work visas that can be issued each year (these are called “quotas”)
- Requirements and guidelines for employers hiring non-citizens
- Penalties for violations of immigration and/or employment laws
There are many different categories for temporary immigration based on employment. Some common fields of employment for immigrants include: construction, education, agriculture, services industries, and various professional fields and practices.
What Should Immigrants Know About Employment in the U.S.?
First of all, foreign nationals who are applying for employment-based visas should understand that the application process is very extensive. It can often take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Also, the yearly quota for work visas is usually 140,000 visas each year.
The applicant will be required to submit many different documents in addition to standard travel documents such as passports. For example, they maybe required provide proof of their previous education, employment, and tax information.
What Should Employers Know Before Hiring Non-Citizens?
In addition, the employer who is sponsoring the immigrant for work in the U.S. needs to provide proof that the foreign worker is qualified to fill the job description, and that the job is not currently being filled by domestic employees. This process is known as “Alien Labor Certification”; it can take a lot of time because the employer needs to provide immigration authorities with statistics and trends for the employment rates in their field.
Thus, the employer needs to show that the immigrant employee will be filling a valid work position in the economy that basically can’t be filled otherwise. It is generally not acceptable for the employer to create a job position or “invent” one simply for the purposes of petitioning someone to travel to the U.S.
And of course, knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant is a serious offense, and can lead to heavy legal penalties for the employer.
What are Some Penalties for Violating Immigration and Employment Laws?
There are various penalties associated with violations of immigration/employment laws.
For the immigrant, these may include:
- Removal or deportation
- Charges on one’s record
- Negative effects on work visa status
- Negative effects on future ability to become a citizen
For the Employer:
- Criminal charges (penalties may include fines and/or jail time)
- Loss of business license
- More serious consequences for repeat offenses
Thus, it’s important that both employer and employee verify work eligibility requirements. Recent programs such as the E-Verify computer system have made it more difficult for both employers and employees to evade immigration laws.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Immigrant Employment Laws?
Immigrant employment laws are enforced very strictly. If you have any questions, concerns, or disputes involving immigration or employment, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Your attorney can assist you with the various laws and regulations that apply to your situation. In most cases, an attorney is needed for applications as well as appearances before an immigration judge.
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Last Modified: 07-15-2013 04:14 PM PDT
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