If your business is part of a very specialized industry, you may have to look outside the U.S. for skilled workers. This can be both a boon and present several difficulties. On one hand, opening the applicant pool up to hiring foreign workers drastically increases the likelihood of finding the right person for the job. On the other hand, it also means having to work through a lot of red tape. But if the job absolutely needs a highly skilled worker, going through the extra work is worth it for a better end result.
Here are some key pieces of information to know before hiring foreign workers:
1. Work authorization
Everyone who works in the U.S. needs proper authorization to do so. For U.S. citizens, that simply means being able to confirm citizenship. According to NOLO, there are three other forms of authorization. They are, noncitizen nationals, lawful permanent residents and aliens authorized to work. If a person doesn’t have one of these authorizations, they aren’t allowed to work in the U.S. However, if you’re in need of someone with very specialized skills, and you can prove that very few people have those skills in your area, you may be able to help a foreign worker gain their authorization. In some cases, you may be able to get someone nonimmigrant status, which would allow them to work temporarily for your business. This can be a great first step to securing a green card.
2. Form I-9
A crucial part of the authorization process is the Employee Eligibility Verification form, otherwise known as form I-9. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, this form is required to show that the prospective employee is authorized to work in the country. Employers should be careful to note that they may only ask for the types of documentation listed on the form. Asking for anything not listed there could make them liable for discrimination.
3. Cultural orientation for non-western workers
Business culture is quite different in eastern countries, and because of that you may want to develop an orientation program for new foreign hires. This will help to lay down some guidelines for your new employees and make them feel more comfortable in your work environment. Work and Economy noted that some foreign workers may not be perfectly fluent in American business English. Having a crash course in the terms you frequently use around the office can be very helpful.
Many of the employee retention materials you already have will come in handy as you welcome your new foreign employees. But you might need additional activities such as showing your new hires around the city or offering to help them get settled into their new housing. A global talent management company can even help you work these aspects into the employment contracts.
Foreign workers can be great assets to your growing business. You just need to make sure the paperwork is in order before expanding your employee search to the global level.
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