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Immigration Law Blog

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Employment in the U.S.

 

Each year, thousands of foreign workers who enter the U.S. must obtain legal employment authorization or risk violating status removal.  Employers hiring workers without proper work authorization may also face possible legal consequences.  

There are several visa categories which allow work authorization pursuant to status.  Each category has different requirements, conditions, and periods of time during which the worker may legally stay in the country.

Temporary Workers

There is a variety of categories of temporary workers. In order to come to the U.S. for temporary employment, an employer will typically file a non-immigrant petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the foreign employee.

Permanent Workers

Each year, approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are allocated to qualified foreign nationals with unique job skills.  Foreign nationals with the right combination of skills, education, and experience may be eligible to work in the U.S. permanently.  This typically applies if there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers in the particular field in which the immigrant has experience.

Students and Exchange Visitors

Full-time students enrolled in academic studies (F-1 visa classification) or vocational studies (M-1 visa classification) in the U.S. may be eligible for employment authorization through Optional Practical Training programs, which allow them temporarily authorized employment in the U.S. in a position related to their field of study.

Certain exchange visitors (J-1 visa classification) are also allowed temporary employment in the U.S. but strictly under the terms of their exchange programs.

Temporary Visitors for Business

To visit the United States temporarily in order to conduct business, foreign nationals are required to obtain a Temporary Visitors for Business Visa (B-1), unless they qualify for admission without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

 

Each employment category comes with different eligibility criteria, conditions, and authorized periods of stay.  Some allow family members to accompany the foreign national while others don't.  It is imperative foreign nationals know their legal rights and obligations during their employment in the United States.


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