GUEST BLOG: Coming to America

UoY Careers Rocket illy Guest blog written by Amy Klimek, Vice-President of Human Resources, ZipRecruiter

Working Your Way to Building a New Life

The term “American Dream” gets bandied around with robust regularity in the United States, but experiencing that dream within the borders of the country is not as easy as the statement makes it sound. Even many U.S. residents who are natural born citizens do not experience this concept to its full potential. However, there are many current legal U.S. residents and naturalized citizens who have successfully migrated to America and began a path to building a new and better life, and the current proposed changes in the immigration policy appear to be geared toward bringing more education and technical talent to the country to fill the many positions that companies have not been able to fill. This is largely because the corporations have previously been required to hire individuals from the pool that is already in place within U.S. borders. That requirement appears to be changing in a major fashion for the betterment of hopeful immigrant workers.

Work Visas

The first step in the legal path to working in the United States as a legal non-resident is acquiring an approved work visa, of which there are several types.

These visas are issued in limited numbers and are largely awarded based on the need of the industry in which the applicant wishes to work. Some industries have more need than others for qualified employees with a particular skill set. Workers with a four-year degree have a much better chance of qualifying than those with limited technical skills. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has all of the information necessary for those who want to apply for a work visa, and much of that information can be accessed online at the official ICE website.

Employer Responsibilities

Potential immigrant workers are not the only parties in the process that have legal responsibilities. Employers have a specific protocol to follow also, beginning with verification that a new job applicant can work legally in the United States. Employers are not allowed to set employee rules based on residential status, so most businesses set a policy of documented proof of legal work status for all employees. It is illegal for employers to knowingly hire an alien who does not have legal work authority, but the employer is not culpable if the illegal employee is found to be working without authorization when the employee has misrepresented their identity in any form to the employer. Legal non-resident workers are also allowed to apply for Social Security numbers while working in the United States.

New Immigration Policy from the Obama Administration

Many potential employers are apprehensive about hiring non-resident workers because of the bureaucratic red tape, and with the current immigration program this is a valid problem. The Obama Administration has listened to the suggestions of the particular industries that would otherwise invest in the United States if they could transport their in-house talent under corporate sponsorship. This could be a major advantage for individuals who can now be hired in their home country and be transferred within the company to a United States company location under employer sponsorship. This augmentation in policy allows the companies to fill their high-skilled vacancies where ever the talent exists and transport their work portfolio to the United States. In addition, this change also means that many companies needing high-tech workers will also invest and be headquartered in the United States where many of the international companies already conduct business. It is a real “win-win” scenario for both the industries in need of quality employees and those potential employees being denied legal work status in the states.

For individuals who are very serious about migrating to America to build their life or enhance their personal career, it may be a good idea to discuss your particular situation with an attorney who focuses on representing cases of non-resident workers who are being unduly denied legal work status. The rules governing legal authorization to work in the United States are still extensive, even with the new policy proposal from the Obama Administration, and the potential for denial on a technicality is always present when dealing with a federal government agency. Even the initial application particulars are very important and errors can facilitate work status denial. It is very important for any potential immigrant worker to do a feasibility study before beginning the actual work visa approval process.

Amy Klimek Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, she was employee #7 at Rent.com, where she first worked with ZipRecruiter’s founders. Her philosophy on human resources infuses the company culture: “To create an open, enriching environment by hiring the best, keeping the rules to a minimum and making it fun.”