U.S. immigration law allows American workers to petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and get permission to hire one or more foreign workers. Foreigners who are either in the U.S. on a valid visa or outside the country can also self-sponsor for a permanent work visa (green card) if they meet certain requirements. At Joseph & Hall, we have experienced employment immigration attorneys who help employers in the Colorado Springs area to navigate the complex U.S. immigration system and obtain a work visa for a prospective foreign worker.
Employment visas are available under two broad categories: permanent visas and nonimmigrant visas. Many employers ask which one is better to obtain between these two categories, but the answer depends on the employer’s needs. If the employer only needs workers for a temporary or seasonal period, then a temporary nonimmigrant visa may be more suitable.
However, if the employer seeks to hire someone on a long-term, permanent basis, then obtaining a permanent work visa may be appropriate. In many cases, an employer may choose to obtain a temporary or nonimmigrant visa for the foreign worker but sponsor that same worker for a permanent work visa once their employment is underway.
Whether the employer seeks a permanent or nonimmigrant visa determines what process they will go through to obtain the work visa for the foreign worker.
Obtaining a permanent work visa for a non-citizen requires, in most cases, the employer to first obtain what is referred to as “labor certification” from the U.S. Department of Labor. This is a process by which the DOL verifies that there are no willing, able, and ready-to-work American workers to fill the position the employer has available. The DOL also verifies that the foreign worker will be paid prevailing wages. To do this, the employer would need to advertise the open position and document what happens in terms of how many people applied, their qualifications, and why none of them were hired, and instead, the job was given to the foreign worker.
A temporary or nonimmigrant work visa allows the foreign worker to enter and work in the U.S. for a specific time, usually three years. The foreign worker is required to leave the U.S. at or before the expiration of the authorized period. In some cases, it may be possible to extend the validity of the visa beyond the initial authorized period. A foreign worker who is authorized for a temporary work visa and enters the U.S. to work can change their temporary work visa to a permanent work visa if the same employer or another one sponsors them or if they are eligible to get a green card in the other available categories.
If you are in the Colorado Springs area and are looking for an employment immigration lawyer, we are here for you. Contact Joseph & Hall to schedule a consultation. Do not risk doing it alone when we can help you to successfully go through the complex employment visa petition and application process.
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