The Non-Immigrant Visa Process Ten Steps HR Professionals Can Take To Ensure Successful US Work Assignments.
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The Non-Immigrant Visa Process Ten Steps HR Professionals Can Take To Ensure Successful US Work Assignments
Overview Heightened security requires thorough preparation, organization and presentation. Borders Biometric tracking Routine registration and fingerprinting for certain nationals Service centers and consulates more scrutiny Increased information sharing between US and Canadian officials
STEP 1 Ensure that the HR Department has Charge of the Immigration Process Establish an immigration process that makes HR the conduit for each business visit, assignment or relocation to the US. Provide an overview; Explain the basics Find out if there is a spouse and/or children Advise against (selling the house) until the US visa is in hand.
STEP 2 Provide the Employee with a Questionnaire Request the information necessary to start the immigration process: Assignment purpose; and Assignment duration. Questions and answers about issues that could affect the immigration process: Criminality; and Prior immigration refusals Keep a copy of the Questionnaire.
STEP 3 Request Basic Supporting Documentation at the Onset of the Immigration Process Request the documentation so that you can: Determine the type of status; Estimate the processing time; Avoid misunderstanding; Verify the employee/recruit’s nationality, education and work experience; Ensure that the supporting document is available.
STEP 4 Obtain Information from the Employee’s New Manager Managers are an important resource as they: are familiar with the assignment requirements; can provide valuable information about the position/employee fit; and can make the difference in a marginal case.
STEP 5 Determining the Best Non-Immigrant Status ( Also known as The Who, What, When and How of Non-Immigrant Visas) TN Trade NAFTA Professional L-1A/L-1B Intra-Corporate Transfer H-1B Specialty Occupation
TN Trade NAFTA Professional WHO Qualifies? Canadian and Mexican professionals entering the U.S. on behalf of a Canadian or Mexican employer to fill a contract for services between a Canadian and U.S. company. Canadian or Mexican professional either working a) for a US company in the US or b) for their Canadian or Mexican company in the US
TN Trade NAFTA Professional WHAT can they do? Duties normally associated with one of the listed professional positions e.g..: Accountants, Computer Systems Analysts, Graphic Designers, Urban Planners, Engineers
WHEN and HOW LONG? Initial status is a maximum of 1 year. Indefinite ability to renew. Once employee or employer make any applications for permanent status, including filing a labour certification application, the TN status will not normally be renewed or extended. Change to another non- immigrant visa status is recommended. TN Trade NAFTA Professional
WHO Qualifies? Those working as a manager, executive, or with specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services. Those with a minimum of one year work experience with a qualifying related company outside of the U.S. L-1A/L-1B Intra-company transfer
WHAT can they do? Perform services normally associated with their position. Executives-direct the management of the company, division, etc. Managers-manage other managers, professionals, or a function Those with Specialized Knowledge-perform duties relating to the specific area of expertise.
L-1A/L-1B Intra-company transfer WHEN and HOW LONG? Upon initial entry, the employee is granted a maximum of 3 years. Executives and Managers: Maximum of 7 years Specialized Knowledge: Maximum of 5 years
H-1B Specialty Occupation WHO Qualifies? Those working in a “specialty occupation” : an occupation requiring the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge which requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, for entry into the occupation.
H-1B Specialty Occupation WHAT can they do? May work full or part time. May be employed in more than one H-1B occupation and by more than one employer
H-1B Specialty Occupation WHEN and HOW LONG? Initially up to 3 years, with an extension of up to 3 years available. Maximum of 6 years for full-time employment, longer for part-time employment
STEP 6 Prepare and Review the Petition or Application An important procedural check and balance: provide the employee and manager with drafts; request, in writing, that they provide any needed corrections or additions; keep a record of your request for employee and manager input and the responses; and ensure that you are satisfied with everything in the package.
STEP 7 Prepare the Employee for his or her Interview with Immigration Officials helps the employee gain an understanding of the questions that he or she may be asked; reduces anxiety; and increases the chances of success.
STEP 8 Caution the Employee Against Common Pitfalls Pitfalls include: Arriving at the airport or border at the last minute; Assuming that the requirements applicable to a friend apply to the situation at hand; Being unprepared for the interview; and Antagonizing immigration officials. When things go wrong… Ask the employee to obtain the name of the reviewing officer, and Remain calm.
STEP 9 Stress the Importance of Truth and Integrity through-out the Immigration process. HR’s Role must be proactive: communicate to everyone involved that compliance is not optional; bring managers into the immigration process; and stress the business rationale for compliance.
STEP 10 Post Non-Immigrant Process Follow up with the Employee. A standardize follow-up protocol: helps you gauge trends; provides an opportunity to obtain final copies of immigration documentation for your file; ensures that the employee/recruit is brought into the existing 1-9 program; and makes it possible to monitor the need for extensions and renewals.