How to Hire a Foreign Employee

Steps to hiring a foreign employee, top job boards, and frequently asked questions

How to Hire a Foreign Employee

October 1st, 2019

How do you hire a foreign national? There are several government agencies, applications, and authorizations involved. We'll guide you through the process.

Hiring foreign workers can expand your small business into the increasingly growing global market. Read our guide to hiring foreign workers and which sites you can use to post jobs to attract these workers.

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How to Hire Foreign Workers:

1. Apply for certification from the United States Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor seeks to protect the rights and work opportunities of U.S. citizens, so you will need to prove to them that there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers who are willing to perform your job at the prevailing wage. To do so, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Provide evidence for the need to hire a foreign worker to fill your vacancy.
  • Show that the vacancy meets the criteria for the selected foreign labor certification program.
  • Complete and sign the appropriate ETA form.
  • Prove that you can pay the candidate at least the prevailing wage.
  • Mail the completed form and all the attachments to the designated office.

2. Interview prospective foreign workers.

Once the Department of Labor has approved your certification for a foreign worker, you can begin the search to fill your vacancy. Post your job vacancy on a job site (or multiple sites) that caters to foreign workers (see our table below) and go through the hiring process as you would for a normal hire.

Remember, international resumes can be very different and include information that would not be present in U.S. resumes. Keep an open mind when going through international resumes. However, if there is information that you do not want applicants to include in their resumes, such as marital status, race, or photos, state that in your job descriptions.

Be sure to leave plenty of time for the hiring process. It can take up to 6 times longer to find the best candidate and bring him or her to the U.S. Studies have shown that the average hiring time for an H-B1 professional is 275 days, or approximately 9 months. While you may have all your paperwork in order, some candidates will need time to clear immigration issues and apply for visas, especially if they are coming from another country. Some candidates will not be approved for their visas and then you will need to start the hiring process again.

Once you have selected the best-suited candidates, you can start interviewing. If you are hiring workers that are currently living in their home country, you can use Skype or another video conference tool.

3. Apply for a work visa from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If your candidate is already in the U.S., you can use Form 1-9 to verify his or her work authorization. You can compare this form with the E-Verify federal database to check your candidate's work authorization.

If your candidate is not in the U.S., you will have to sponsor a visa, which can include considerable time and costs. This process can take weeks to months to complete and includes the risk of visa denial. You will need to consider how you will bring a foreign employee to the U.S. and how to keep him or her in the country and remain compliant with the law.

4. Verify the tax laws applicable to your company and the foreign worker.

All foreign workers need to apply for a social security number with the Social Security Administration which they will then need to give to you, their employer. Foreign workers are subject to payroll taxes the same as U.S. citizens are.

Foreign-based employees working outside the U.S. will need to complete Form W-8 BEN. All employees will need to complete a Form W-2 so that the ICE can check their Form I-9. If a discrepancy is found between government records and the employee's information, a no-match letter will be sent to the employer. Do not fire your foreign worker if you receive a no-match letter or you could be sued for discrimination. Read the letter carefully and follow the instructions provided.

How to Sponsor an Employee for a Work Visa:

Sponsoring a visa for your foreign worker requires a lot of documents and visa application packages can be up to 300 pages of documentation when submitted. You can follow these steps to sponsor a foreign employee for a work visa:

1. File a Labor Condition Application.

This is a series of statements attesting that your foreign employee will not adversely affect the working conditions of any U.S. citizen. Often included in the LCA are statements on the prevailing wage offered to the foreign employee, hir or her benefits, and that there is no active labor dispute preventing him or her from working.

2. Submit several proofs or statements to the USCIS.

You will need to explain in great detail what your company does, your financials, how many employees you have, the role the foreign employee will be undertaking, why the foreign worker will qualify for a visa, and much more. These documents prove the legitimacy of your business and prove that you can support the fiscal responsibility for your foreign employee (the application for the H-1B visa can cost up to $4000). All these documents, including the candidate's resume, must then be translated into English.

3. File for the petition for a visa on behalf of your foreign employee.

Your foreign employee will not be able to self-petition. Bear in mind the only 65,000 H-1B visas are made available in April each year. 6,800 of these are kept aside for workers from Chile and Singapore, and a further 20,000 are kept aside for workers with advanced degrees. There is no guarantee that your foreign worker's visa will be approved and you may have to wait until the next year.

Top Job Boards to Find Foreign Workers:

Our Ranking

Job Board

Starting Price

1.

USponsor Me

Contact the company.

2.

CoolWorks

Packages from $129.00 per post.

3.

GoAbroad.com

Contact the company.

4.

Indeed

Free

5.

Monster

From $130.00 per posting

6.

ZipRecruiter

From $249.00 /mo.

FAQs:

How do I hire an employee in another country?

  1. Apply for certification from the United States Department of Labor.
  2. Interview prospective foreign workers.
  3. Apply for a work visa from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  4. Verify the tax laws applicable to your company and the foreign worker.

For more information, read our detailed guide.

How do I pay a foreign employee?

For employees working in foreign countries, you can use remote payment options such as TransferWise, international wire transfers, international money orders, or online payment software like PayPal. Foreign employees working in the U.S. can be paid just like U.S. citizens.

Take a look at our guide to hiring foreign workers.

Can U.S. companies hire foreign workers?

Yes. You will just have to prove to the Department of Labor that there is a lack of sufficient U.S. workers who will do the job at the prevailing wage.

Read our guide to hiring foreign workers.

Why do companies hire foreign workers?

  • Skilled foreign nationals can fill roles for which there is a shortage of skilled U.S. workers.
  • Their language abilities and foreign knowledge can help companies reach a global market.
  • Companies can improve their creativity and innovation by hiring foreign workers with different skills and ideas.
  • Hiring foreign workers can improve the company's workplace culture and lead to better employee morale.
  • Foreign workers are often hired to fill job vacancies.

Do foreign employees pay U.S. taxes?

Yes. All foreign employees working in the U.S. will need to apply for a social security number and submit a Form W-2 with the ICE.

See our guide for more details.

Can you hire someone without a work visa?

Yes, but you will then need to sponsor the foreign national for a work visa or otherwise help him or her to obtain one before the work start date.

Read our guide for details.

Can an employer sponsor an immigrant?

Yes. You will need to apply for certification from the Department of Labor and prove that you have sufficient funds, including bringing the immigrant to the United States and helping him or her to stay there legally.

Take a look at our guide for details.

What is foreign labor certification?

Foreign Labor Certifications assure that the hiring of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages, job opportunities, and working conditions of U.S. citizens. There are different types of foreign labor certificates, and which one you apply for will depend on the requirements of your job vacancy.

Check out our guide to foreign labor certification.

What are the four main categories of visas for foreign workers?

  • L visas for specialized workers.
  • E visas to transfer qualified workers.
  • H visas for temporary, skilled foreign workers or foreign workers to fill agricultural or non-agricultural (hotels, resorts, amusement parks, truck drivers, etc.) positions.
  • P visas for artists or athletes fulfilling temporary engagements in the U.S.

What is the H-1B program?

The H-1B program allows the employment of temporary, specialized foreign workers in the U.S. on a non-immigrant basis for specialized positions requiring the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or equivalent, or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

How can I sponsor an immigrant?

To sponsor your foreign worker to become a permanent resident for a permanent job opportunity, you will need to submit an Application for Permanent Labor Certification to the Department of Labor. After receiving approval, you will need to submit Form I-140 on behalf of the worker to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Read our steps to sponsoring a foreign worker.

Can a U.S. company hire a foreign independent contractor?

Yes, but you will need to ensure that your foreign independent contractor is not legally defined as an employee under foreign labor laws, in order to avoid any litigations. You should also have your foreign independent contractor complete Form W-8 BEN to establish his or her status as a foreign person.

What are the best job boards to post vacancies for foreign workers?

What jobs can you hire foreign workers for?

You can hire either temporary or permanent foreign workers for a variety of positions ranging from agricultural work to positions that require specialized training or even a bachelor's degree.

What certification do foreign workers need?

Depending on the occupational requirements of your vacancy, your foreign worker will need one of the following certifications:

  • Permanent Labor Certification.
  • H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 Speciality (Professional) Workers.
  • H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program Certification.
  • H-2B Certification for Temporary Non-Agricultural Work.

Find the application forms for these Foreign Labor Certifications here.

To read the laws and regulations, click here for temporary workers and here for permanent workers. You can also file a prevailing wage request with the Department of Labor.

  • Permanent Labor Certification.
  • H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 Speciality (Professional) Workers.
  • H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program Certification.
  • H-2B Certification for Temporary Non-Agricultural Work.

Find the application forms for these Foreign Labor Certifications here.

To read the laws and regulations, click here for temporary workers and here for permanent workers. You can also file a prevailing wage request with the Department of Labor.