Sponsoring Nonimmigrant Workers

There are many different categories for employer sponsorship of foreign workers on a temporary, or nonimmigrant basis. Significant differences in requirements exist from category to category, as well as the length of time an individual is permitted to work in the United States, and the type of work that may be performed.

To sponsor a beneficiary for employment in one of the nonimmigrant visa categories, an employer is usually required to file a petition and supporting documentation with the USCIS. In the categories that do not require the filing of a petition, the employer must establish the worker’s eligibility for the category so that the worker may gain entry to the United States. This proof is presented either at the port of entry (POE) or at a U.S. consulate abroad, depending upon the category.

Employers must only employ workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States. Employers must comply with U.S. requirements for screening all workers prior to employment. An employer may want to consider options for sponsorship if an employee is not authorized to work for that employer. When a foreign national worker is sponsored, the employer must be aware of any applicable immigration obligations and requirements. Some categories, such as H1B for temporary professional workers, have requirements regarding wages and document retention intended to protect the U.S. labor market. Employers can benefit from the immigration options available for foreign workers, and avoid the risks of committing violations, if they plan ahead and obtain proper legal advice.