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How to Hire a Foreign Employee in USA?

To expand your company to global standards is one of the dreams of many who have small scale businesses. Hiring international workers is one of the foundational moves to help you succeed in successfully entering the global markets.

That being said, how to hire a foreign employee? With the number of rules and regulations to follow, most employers, especially small scale business holders, restrain from taking international workers as a part of their workforce.

You, as an employer, need to understand that the legalities and federal procedures are in place, not for mitigating immigration but for helping you to bring qualified employees to the U.S.A. You can also request a lawyer to help you with the procedures to smoothen it more.

Let us take a look at some important points that you need to know before hiring a foreign employee.

Tips for Recruiting Foreign Employees:

1.    Start planning in advance

Hiring foreign employees is not a 1-day process. Prepare well for the ‘winter’. Before any recruitment drive especially in the case of international employees, employers must keep proper room for errors.

Start with understanding the needs of your company. Before hiring anyone, you must see to it that there is a need for such a job in your company. Most of the job positions given to international employees are the profiles that go beyond the skills of the local talent pool available.

As soon as having ascertained the needful job profile, plan your recruitment drive. Prepare a job description that properly defines the working area and the job role.

Look into all matters to set a proper plan and execute it at the proper time to ensure that you don’t get hassled.

2.    Consider consulting experts

Domestic hiring is something that you are well adapted to. But international hiring has certain criteria that have to be met before actually hiring people. In case of such hiring, don’t ‘jump the gun’ to fill a vacancy as soon as it pops up.

To filter out and help you in bringing qualified workers into the nation, there are many rules and regulations to be followed that you may or may not be aware of. Taking help from a legal advisor or an attorney can straighten out most of the legal pathway.

The paperwork involved in the case of hiring international workers is quite a bit. Investing in a lawyer would help you in diverting most of your focus to the actual recruitment process.

3.    Apply for certification from DOL

Before starting a recruitment drive, you need to have clearance from the Dept. of Labor ( DOL). The need for this is because you need to show that the reason behind the application when an employer hires a foreigner for employment.

You have to provide a proper reason as to why you are selecting workers from a global talent pool than a local talent pool. This is done to prevent any harm to the job opportunities for U.S. workers.

The steps needed to be followed in this case are:

  • Give proof of the need to employ an international specialist to fill your opportunity.
  • Show that the job opening complies with all checks as per the applicable foreign labor certification program.
  • Provide proof for showcasing your ability to pay the foreign worker the prevailing wages.
  • Complete and mail the ETA form with all needful attachments.

4.    Providing means to attract qualified workers

Bringing people in from other countries is not an easy task. Especially if the pay isn’t enough to sustain their expenses, many might not look into your advertisement. So, properly plan the job pay package.

Present a lookout of your work environment to your potential candidates. Just as you want to create a cross-cultural work environment, the candidates are also looking for such an indulgence. A better workplace will also inspire a positive response from the potential candidates.

Also, proactively showcase your firm as an organization that believes in growing the employees alongside its growth. All such steps will help qualified workers to get attracted to the offer provided by your organization.

5.    Interview prospective employees

This step can only be taken after you have been certified by the Dept. of Labor. From here on, you can now post your job vacancies on job sites for foreign workers.

Keep in mind that people belonging to different nations have a different way of resume writing. So keep your eyes wide open while going through international resumes. Request for all information required for the job in the job description to remove the hassle of frequent reminders to potential candidates.

Bear in mind that the process of hiring international workers is much longer than the domestic hiring process. It takes an average of 9 months to hire an H1-B worker.

While all paperwork may be clear from your end, the employee needs clearance from the authorities with regards to visa. There might be a chance that the candidate may be denied a visa, in which case you need to start the hiring process all over again. Keep proper contingencies in the plan.

6.    Contact USCIS for Visa updates

If the concerned candidate is in the U.S, then you put in an I-9 form for verifying their work authorization. If the candidate is not in the U.S., then you need to sponsor the employee which is a time-taking as well as a costly process.

In this case, you need to consider the possibility of visa declination. Also, have a plan as to how you will be keeping them in the country in compliance with the law.

READ: Employer Guide for Companies Hiring International Students in USA

7.    Keep an eye on all legalities

Understanding the legalities will help you stay afloat while hiring international workers. Have a look into the rules and regulations that a foreign employee needs to maintain to securely stay in the U.S.A.

Taxing rules applicable to foreign nationals are similar to the ones applicable to U.S. citizens. As the employer, you need to look into your employee filing the W-8 form to withhold the amount to be taxed from their pay.

Though most of the paperwork is on the employee’s side, getting an idea of these processes will help you ascertain the length of the joining process.


While hiring a foreign national is a bit cumbersome, considering the paperwork. But, look onto the bright side of improving your workplace standards. The input brought by a qualified international worker is worth all the effort. See to it that as an employer, you properly communicate all the needful matters and they respond likewise. This will help both of you in completing all the due processes effortlessly.

Neil Thomas

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