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During the holiday season, many companies supplement the year-round workforce with temporary workers, including foreign workers employed under the H-2B temporary worker program. The United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (USDOL) has been ramping up its investigation and audit process for H-2B program users. If your company relies on the H-2B program to meet seasonal or peak needs, make sure that you are in compliance with all program requirements.

The L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa category is a valuable visa category for international companies wishing to transfer key employees to the company’s U.S. operations. The L-1 visa category authorizes the transfer of managers, executives and individuals with specialized knowledge from a foreign company to a U.S. related company.

U.S. employers wishing to hire a foreign worker who is an Australian citizen should consider the E-3 visa category. The E-3 visa category is only available for Australian citizens. The E-3 visa category permits Australian citizens to work in the U.S. in “specialty occupations” on a temporary basis.

Since the H-1B visa cap was reached on June 11, 2012, U.S. employers wishing to hire a foreign worker who is a Canadian or Mexican citizen should consider the TN visa category. The TN visa category is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and permits Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the United States to participate in professional business activities on a temporary basis.

As a rule, if an employee in the United States is unable to produce a valid, unexpired work authorization document to complete the Form I-9 process (for a new hire) or by the date that his or her prior authorization is due to expire (for a current employee), you cannot continue the employment. But what do you do if the employee announces that he or she has Temporary Protected Status (TPS) work authorization and cannot produce an unexpired employment authorization card? What is TPS? Can you allow this employee to work and for how long? The answer is “Yes” if the employee is from a TPS-designated country and for which an automatic extension of employment authorization has been granted.

On Monday, April 2, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting FY 2013 H-1B cap-subject petitions for employment starting on October 1, 2012.

Although the Presidential candidates will not be delving into all the volatile details of immigration in an election year, employers should tackle immigration issues to avoid monetary penalties and criminal sanctions. Here are twelve steps all employers should take in 2012 to comply with the myriad of immigration laws:

1. Conduct An Annual I-9 Audit

  • The I-9 audit should be conducted by someone other than the person responsible for completing I-9s ...

Give your company the gift of an immigration audit this year – it may just keep your company off the government’s naughty list. Here are the top 11 immigration mistakes employers made in 2011:

1. The $5.9 million Error: Failing To Properly Pay H-1B Workers

In March, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division assessed over $1.7 million in civil money penalties and ordered the payment of over $4.2 million in back wages against Maryland's Prince ...

H-1B visas for this fiscal year will soon be exhausted. Act now to lock in one of the remaining visas.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and the Department of Public Safety issued a new policy for the Vermont State Police which impacts when the State Police are allowed to question a person’s immigration status.

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