California employers like Southern California Edison and Walt Disney Company are coming under scrutiny for allegedly using the H-1B program to displace American technology workers. The H-1B program is a visa program that allows employers to hire qualified foreign workers for specialty occupations. Workers who qualify for H-1B visas usually hold at least a bachelor's degree, and many hold advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
Many wealthy foreign business people have relocated to California through the immigrant investor program, or EB-5. Although the EB-5 program was set up to create jobs in the U.S., critics argue that it allows the global elite to buy U.S. green cards. Now, lawmakers are thinking about making some changes to the EB-5 program that could make it more difficult to qualify for.
A group of 14 Indian and Chinese immigrants has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. State Department for rescinding on plans that would have allowed them to file for green cards in October. The government's sudden revision impacts thousands of foreign nationals living in California and nationwide.
Employers in California may benefit from understanding more about some of the major issues human resource departments deal with when transferring employees from overseas. Anyone interested in hiring employees from another country needs to ensure that human resources is in compliance with immigration laws while identifying, recruiting and hiring the talent. The main factors worth consideration include the foreign worker's education, previous experience, occupation, criminal history and previous immigration history.
Technology companies in California may be able to use O-1 visas to recruit foreign-born employees with new ideas and inventions. Historically, foreign nationals living in the United States have instigated a lot of innovation in the tech industry. If an employer is aware of a foreign-born person with incredible skills, it might want to consider petitioning for an O-1 visa.
California employers who hire foreign workers and their employees may wonder how a recent United States Citizenship and Immigration Services decision might affect those workers. According to the USCIS, if employers transfer an employee on an H-1B visa to a new location, they must also file an amended H-1B petition.
California readers may be interested to learn that the Obama administration has asked a Texas judge to drop a contempt hearing over work permits mistakenly issued in violation of a court order halting President Barack Obama's controversial immigration initiative. The court hearing is scheduled for later in August.
A recent court decision underscored the fact that all workers in California are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act regardless of their immigration status. A New York federal court ruled that immigration-related documents are not discoverable in wage and hour lawsuits because the documents are irrelevant. The judge also stated that requiring immigration documents in such a case could intimidate workers who wish to file complaints against their employers.
Some employers in California may be affected by the fact that for fiscal year 2016, almost three times as many applications for H-B1 visas have been made than are available. This type of visa is intended for foreign workers who are skilled in science, engineering and computers, but the government caps it at 85,000. This includes 20,000 set aside for workers who have master's degrees. For the coming year, 233,000 have applied.
International companies may be able to transfer foreign executives or managers to a U.S. office by helping them to secure an L-1A nonimmigrant visa. If a company does not yet have a U.S. office, the L-1A visa may be used so that a foreign manager or executive can come into the U.S. to help establish a new affiliate office.