Help Your Employees Navigate U.S. Immigration

shutterstock 295543439By Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Traveling to and living in a new country can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if the language is new. The United States is a diverse country filled with opportunity, but becoming a citizen can seem daunting. Last year, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, over 750,000 people became citizens of the United States.

When a potential employee comes to the United States to work, it is essential that you verify that they're eligible to work in the U.S. A person does not need to be a citizen to work in the United States. However, they do need to follow the immigration procedures, whether or not they intend to become a permanent citizen.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “No alien may accept employment in the United States unless they have been authorized to do so. Some aliens, such as those who have been admitted as permanent residents, granted asylum or refugee status, or admitted in work-related nonimmigrant classifications, may have employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status. Other aliens may need to apply individually for employment authorization.”

Here are a few of the best resources for navigating the immigration process as an employer helping an employee:

  1. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services— A division of the Department of Homeland Security, this site has all of the official forms and links to information regarding how to apply for citizenship status as well as how to apply for temporary immigration status.
  2. SimpleCitizen — Not only helps point people to the right forms, but also provides real world examples and stories of how to best get through the immigration process. Their articles include information on how to go from getting a visa to studying in the U.S. to providing detailed information on how to get a Green Card.
  3. The U.S. Department of State — An excellent resource for visas and travel advisories. Work situations vary and whether you are a media professional or a nurse, the Department of State can point employers and employees to the correct information for how to legally work in the U.S.
  4. Nolo.com — A legal website which provides a comprehensive list of resources on living and working in the United States. This site provides information for both employees and employers about what is required to work in the U.S. or hire an employee from out of the country.

The most important thing to remember when navigating the citizenship process is to keep ahead of the paperwork. If you have questions or problems about sponsoring or hiring an employee, they can most likely be solved if you know who to ask and you follow up.

Michelle Kennedy Hogan grew up in Vermont. She's written 15 books including bestseller, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America." She has eight children who she home schools.

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