Foreign nationals seeking temporary employment in the U.S. have several nonimmigrant visa choices. The U.S. places caps on the number of nonimmigrant workers who can enter the country each year. The process for entering the U.S. as a nonimmigrant worker is complex and should be initiated well in advance of the intended work start date.
Contact Hanlon Law Group, P.C. in Pasadena, CA today to speak with an experienced immigration attorney about temporary work visas.
Department of Labor Certification
Employers are required to gain approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) before they can request approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to hire certain categories of nonimmigrant workers. These categories include H-1B (specialty occupations), H-2A (temporary agricultural workers) and H-2B (skilled and unskilled temporary workers) workers. Employers have to submit forms to the DOL documenting several items, including:
- Their need to employ foreign workers
- Their attempts to find U.S. workers to fill the vacancies
- How hiring foreign nationals will not displace American workers
Only after receiving DOL certification can employers submit a petition to the USCIS.
Before a foreign national can apply for a temporary worker visa, his or her prospective employer must file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (form I-129) with the USCIS. The processing times for these petitions can be long, so it is best for employers to file the petition as soon as possible. Currently, the petitions may be filed up to six months before the anticipated work start date.
Once the application has been approved, the USCIS will send the employer a Notice of Action form. In order for the temporary workers to complete their visa applications, the employer must provide them with the receipt number from this form. A copy of the Notice does not have to be included with the visa application.
Temporary Worker Visas
Approval of the employer’s petition to the USCIS does not mean a worker is guaranteed a visa and entry into the U.S. Like other nonimmigrant applicants, the worker still must file a visa application with his or her local U.S. embassy or consulate and schedule an in-person interview. Additionally, most applicants will have to provide evidence of their intent to return home after their time in the U.S. has come to an end. This may include family, work or business obligations, a permanent residence or other ties.
Once the visa is approved, the worker may travel to a U.S. port of entry, where a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officer will determine whether the worker will be admitted to the U.S. and how long the worker will be allowed to remain in the country.
Spouse and Child Visas
The spouses and unmarried minor children of temporary workers also can apply for nonimmigrant visas to join the temporary worker in the U.S. While not required, it is best if all of the nonimmigrant visas are submitted at the same time. As part of the approval process, the principal visa applicant must be able to show he or she can financially support the additional family members during their time in the U.S. With limited exceptions, spouses and children are not allowed to work while in the U.S. If they do, they may be deported.
Extending Temporary Worker Visas
Each temporary worker category provides a fixed amount of time the worker can remain in the U.S. If the time expires before the work has been completed, an extension may be applied for with the USCIS. Once the time extension has expired, temporary workers must return to their home countries and remain there for a set period of time before they are eligible to apply for another temporary work visa.
Speak to an Immigration Lawyer
For more information on securing temporary worker clearance, contact Hanlon Law Group, P.C. in Pasadena, CA. An experienced immigration attorney can review your situation and suggest the best options for your particular case.