With New Hampshire’s chronically low unemployment rates, hiring international workers can be a viable solution to address labor shortages. Whether your business has seasonal needs or requires an ongoing influx of highly skilled individuals to fuel innovation and growth, federal law offers a range of immigration options to accommodate New Hampshire’s diverse business demands.
Here are some basics for businesses considering hiring foreign workers.
What sorts of employment-based visas are available to my business?
New Hampshire offers a variety of visas depending on your business immigration needs. They include:
- H-2A – Temporary agricultural workers
- H-2B – Temporary non-agricultural workers
- H-1B – Specialty occupation for high-skilled workers (Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent minimum requirement)
- J-1 – Exchange visitor with numerous sub-categories
- L-1 – Intra-company transferee (requires a foreign entity from which intending employee would come)
- O-1 – Outstanding individuals in the sciences, education, business, athletics, the arts, motion pictures, and television (very high standard)
There may be other, more specialized visas available to certain kinds of potential employees.
Employers can also sponsor someone for a green card (aka, lawful permanent residence) through a permanent labor certification process, known informally as PERM. This generally requires identifying the job candidate (who may be a current employee), defining the position, determining the “prevailing wage”, recruiting for sixty days, and filing the required petitions and other paperwork with the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. There are multiple employment-based immigration tiers, including “priority workers”, “members of the professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability”, “skilled workers, professionals, and other workers”, as well visas for certain “employment creation”.
How are fees handled for employment-based immigration?
Employers are primarily responsible for attorney’s fees, filing fees, and other costs associated with immigration petitions and applications. In narrow circumstances, the employee/beneficiary may pay legal and filing fees.
What is the timeline for a business immigration process?
If you’re bringing in workers with an employment-based visa, it’s best to plan ahead. While you may be looking to fill immediate needs, the processing timeline has become a tricky issue over the last five-plus years.
Depending on the sort of visa the employer seeks, the process could take as little as three months or—in the most extreme cases—as long as eleven (yes, that is not a misprint) years.
U.S. immigration law is a highly technical, rapidly changing field. All potential employers and employees interested in visas or employment-based permanent residence should consult with an immigration lawyer. Shaheen & Gordon’s business immigration team has decades of experience helping New Hampshire companies secure the talent they need, while also providing full-service legal support.
If you think immigration could be a solution for your business challenges, contact our team today.
Ron Abramson is the Chair of Shaheen & Gordon’s immigration practice. In a career spanning 30 years, Ron has handled a multitude of immigration, criminal defense, civil litigation, and international legal matters. In addition to his immigration practice, Ron has advised businesses concerning the implications of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (as well as other multi- and bilateral trade agreements), ITAR, distribution agreements, and contracts.