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Hiring Foreign Workers? Welcome to America

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Hiring Foreign Workers? Welcome to America

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: May 14, 2009

As globalization drives students, workers, and entrepreneurs to havens of opportunity and prosperity, the old saying about the United States being a 'melting pot', or 'salad bowl', or even 'mosaic of diversity', still stands true, despite the current economic slump.

When American short track speed skater Allison Baver made the following comment, she touched on the commonality of cultural diversity that is omnipresent in just about any place of business in the USA.

'I noticed it traveling with our team. We’re the only team that has coaches from three other countries and athletes that are all different in terms of our diversity. Look at our team as a whole. It is the United States. . . . It’s a melting pot.'
Truth be told - if the U.S. is a melting pot, then the regulations and laws that govern the hiring of foreign workers are a veritable casserole of certification requirements, application procedures, and tax implications.

Hiring Foreign Workers - Get Your Arms around the Law

As a British expat who immigrated to the U.S. more than ten years ago, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with the federal laws that govern the temporary and permanent employment of non-resident and resident aliens in the U.S.

What struck me during my transition from alien to resident alien to permanent resident was how little knowledge of foreign worker employment laws my employer had, despite being a large global enterprise.

So if the large corporations struggle with the law, where does the small business owner start to build an understanding of the process of hiring foreign workers?

The good news is that there are many guides and online resources that can help employers understand and comply with foreign worker laws.

Below is a summary of the key aspects of foreign worker employment law and links to information and tools to support your small business’ efforts to comply with these laws.

  • Certifying a Foreign Worker - The Department of Labor (DOL) should be your first stop for gaining permission for foreign workers to work in the U.S. To achieve certification for a potential employee, businesses must demonstrate that there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and able to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for that occupation.

This page describes the DOL’s certifications issued for permanent and temporary employment under the following programs: Permanent Labor Certification, H-1C Nurses in Disadvantaged Areas, H-2A Temporary Labor Certification (Seasonal Agricultural), H-2B Temporary Labor Certification (Non-agricultural), and D-1 Crewmembers Certification.

There are a range of guides covering the application process, compliance, record-keeping and contact information for all types of foreign worker employment status (H-2A, H-2B, H-1B, H-1B1, D-1 and so on) on the DOL site here.
  • Foreign Worker Taxation Considerations - Most foreign workers, whether temporary or permanent are required to pay U.S. taxes. However there are some exceptions that you need to be aware of, these include:

  1. Foreign Agricultural Workers - Temporary foreign agricultural workers on H-2A visas are exempt from U.S. social security and Medicare taxes, whether they are resident aliens or nonresident aliens.
  2. Taxation and Nonresident Aliens - There are a variety of requirements that govern the taxation of nonresident aliens.
For information on these exceptions, check out the tax information here.

Additional Resources

Small Business Guide to Hiring Foreign Workers - This resource from Business.gov provides information from the U.S. Department of Labor describing how to comply with federal labor regulations regarding the hiring and employment of foreign workers.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Another great thing about employing people from other countries is that they might be able to better serve your customers. It is very likely that you will customers from a range of backgrounds and your business sales might actually prosper from employing foreign workers who are more likely attract a diverse range of customers.
Employer people from other countries and backgrounds can bring a wealth of different skills and experiences to you business and should not be overlooked. You might find that such employees bring new and interesting ideas to your business.
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today announced the availability of a new tool to help employers and others understand how to comply with requirements under the H-1B visa program, which allows for the temporary employment of foreign workers in the U.S. in certain specialty occupations. The interactive, online H-1B Advisor helps users determine if they fulfill the requirements of the visa program by answering questions relevant to specific H-1B classified workers. It also outlines notification requirements, monetary issues, worksite issues, recordkeeping, and worker protections, as well as additional requirements for employers deemed to be H-1B dependent or willful violators. The H-1B Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by the Department to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws. To access it, visit the elaws Web site. To learn more about the Department's role in administering the INA and H-1B Visa program, visit the Office of Foreign Labor Certification Web site and Wage and Hour Division Web site.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today announced the availability of a new tool to help employers and others understand how to comply with requirements under the H-1B visa program, which allows for the temporary employment of foreign workers in the U.S. in certain specialty occupations. The interactive, online H-1B Advisor helps users determine if they fulfill the requirements of the visa program by answering questions relevant to specific H-1B classified workers. It also outlines notification requirements, monetary issues, worksite issues, recordkeeping, and worker protections, as well as additional requirements for employers deemed to be H-1B dependent or willful violators. The H-1B Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by the Department to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws. To access it, visit the elaws Web site. To learn more about the Department's role in administering the INA and H-1B Visa program, visit the Office of Foreign Labor Certification Web site and Wage and Hour Division Web site.
Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.Companies are required to pay foreign workers a prevailing wage based on the job's description. But they can use the lower end of government wage scales even for highly skilled workers; hire younger foreigners with lower salary demands; and hire foreigners with higher levels of education or advanced degrees for jobs for which similarly educated American workers would be considered overqualified. -------------Hoodia gordoniipro-111fdMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-04-2009 03:07 PM
We have been looking at this issue recently as we plan the expansion of our garden edging business. It is a minefield but this information is gving us some clarity on the way forward.Message Edited by NicoleD on 08-26-2009 12:59 PM
American economy so so bad that he can't offer employment for his own citizen. Forget about hiring form the foreign countries. locksmithslocksmiths Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-04-2009 03:06 PM
For business owners, this is a great thing. But for American workers, it kind of stinks! I don't know how the government could change this though without hurting many foreign workers. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!Message Edited by ZanetaB on 09-11-2009 10:31 AM
Hiring foreign worker is good in business because many foreigners are better working . Also, they are eager be in USA and will be happy to work. Its fact that person works nicely when he is happy. Consideration in taxation is also must till certain level of income.Regards Message Edited by ZanetaB on 09-14-2009 10:31 AM

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