While immigration policy is still uncertain, businesses’ needs remain a prevalent. While it may still be necessary to rely on immigration into the U.S. to meet demands, businesses must stay up-to-date on executive orders regarding immigration.
In addition to President Trump’s executive order restricting the entry of individuals from certain countries, President Trump also released the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order on April 18; focusing partly on the H-1B Visa program; a popular option for highly skilled workers. The Executive Order directs agencies to review the program to ensure the most skilled and highly paid beneficiaries receive a visa under that category. In addition to Executive Orders, businesses should also remain current on legislation coming from Congress. Multiple bills underway focus on the H-1B program. Employers with international offices should also keep track of any changes arising under the L-1 intracompany transfer program.
Most importantly, however, employers should be reviewing current I-9 policies to ensure full compliance with immigration laws. All employers must complete Form I-9 for new hires, verifying the eligibility of an employee to work in the U.S.; regardless of an employee’s citizenship. Failure to comply results in penalties ranging from $300.00-$3,000.00 per violation. Employers can reduce their overall liability by conducting I-9 audits regularly, while implementing new hire procedures and handbook policies that help ensure standardized compliance.
Given the tumultuous state of the country’s current immigration policies, Employers should prepare for delays, audits, and site visits; while remaining current on policy reform and ready for any potential changes to the immigration policies currently in place.