Immigration in the US is a highly involved process for any business, and it can be frustrating to determine what your company needs to do to get started. ​Politics has made it harder for employers to identify and hire qualified foreign applicants for open positions. Although this may seem like a daunting task, don’t become discouraged – immigration law in the United States provides options for bringing qualified employees to the United States.

Take the Steps Necessary to Prepare Your Organization

The process of applying for employment visas, is complicated, both for the employer and the employee. Getting a thorough understanding of the requirements can be a lengthy and confusing process and is probably worth consulting with an immigration attorney before starting the process. Hiring foreign employees can take months or even years, depending on which business immigration program you are utilizing — taking into consideration which roles within your company you want to fill with international employees. Often, these are positions for which you have trouble finding talent within the US that can excel in the role. Include in your strategic plans for recruitment and retention. Additionally, creating a plan for bringing the employees to the US and for how to keep them here while remaining compliant with the law.

Decide Which Immigration Program Is the Best Fit

There are numerous visa programs available, and you will need to decide which one is ideal for the types of international employees you want to hire. A few things that should be taken into consideration are: Do you plan on your new employees becoming permanent residents or will you only hire them temporarily? What job function will they be fulfilling? A few standard options are the H-1B visa and the J-1 visa. The H-1B is the visa that enables foreign specialist talent to be temporarily employed in the U.S. Applications for these visas are continuing to rise year each year specifically in the STEM fields (Science Technology Engineering Math). Another option is the J-1 Visa for training and internships. The training and intern positions through the J-1 visas are paid opportunities. Both types of visas allow an individual to come to the US, gain the necessary experience to go back home with new skills that can be incorporated into a career.

Obtain a Certification from the Department of Labor

The first step in hiring a foreign worker is to apply to the United States Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will require you to present evidence that there are insufficient qualified United States workers available who will perform the job for the prevailing wage. The Department of Labor’s interest is in protecting the job opportunities and rights of American workers. Once the Department of Labor approves the employer’s request, then the employer must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a visa for the worker. The potential employee must establish that they are eligible to enter the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

When you have a similar group of employees who all come from the same background, sometimes creativity within your organization can become stifled. Hiring foreign employees brings people into your business who have different perspectives since they came from entirely different places. The blending of ideas and perspectives from various cultures is the best possible recipe for creativity and innovation that can take your organization to new a new level. Having an international workforce leads to more productivity, but it also helps to build a more fulfilling workplace culture for all employees. The sharing of different global perspectives and ideas benefits both immigrant and non-immigrant employees alike and will lead to better employee morale as well as a positive reputation for your organization, which will lead to better talent coming to work for you.