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7 Best Practices for U.S. Businesses to Manage Immigration Compliance

For small business owners in the United States, immigration compliance issues during the Trump administration have become delicate matters with a high potential of disrupting operations and becoming legal headaches. Prominent law firms around the country are retaining top-notch immigration attorneys for more than just compliance work. They’re also preparing to conduct lobbying work on behalf of political clients who feel the draconian policies of the current administration should be amended. 

Change is bound to come regarding immigration compliance issues and the way they affect American business owners. In the meantime, the following practices are highly recommended.

1. Retain an Immigration Law Firm

Between Homeland Security, the Department of State, the White House, and Immigration, policy and rule changes have become difficult to follow. In some cases, new federal directives contradict each other and ignore statutory business policy at the state level. Until matters are straightened out in the future, local business owners should have an immigration lawyer in San Diego by their side.

2. Review H-1B and I-9 Records

Surprise immigration audits are becoming more frequent, particularly in regions with large ethnic populations. All employers should keep I-9 files updated and organized according to recordkeeping rules, but special attention should be paid to H-1B visas because auditors are being instructed to be stricter with their reviews.

3. Brief Foreign Business Partners on Current Immigration Issues

Inviting a foreign employee, associate, or partner to the United States for a business meeting is not the same as it used to be. Customs and Border Protection agents posted at airports and checkpoints have become overzealous. Foreigners’ business visas shouldn’t mention they intend to participate in a “work meeting.”

4. Minimize International Travel

Under current conditions, sending foreign workers on international business trips has become a risky proposition. Business owners who have H-1B visa holders on payroll should try to keep these employees in the U.S. as much as possible.

5. Expect Higher Fees and Budget Accordingly

As of September 2018, there are several proposals to increase non-immigrant work visa fees, and legal analysts expect many of these will be approved. To this effect, business owners may want to allocate more funds if they intend to keep foreign skilled workers on payroll.

6. Pay Mind to Notices to Appear in Court

A proposed rule in 2018 would require foreigners to appear before an immigration judge whenever an application is denied. Upon issuance of a Notice to Appear, the individual would lose lawful status, which would extend to his or her work permit. The rule is being challenged as of September. Employers should check with their compliance officers or legal partners as to how they should proceed.

7. Plan for Workplace Visits from ICE

Similar to I-9 and H-1B audits, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents have stepped up their operational tempo as part of the “deportation force” President Donald Trump promised during his campaign. As expected, these visits are often conducted with a zeal reminiscent of a military raid. For this reason, employers should inform their staff about the vital need to stay calm during these visits and avoid confrontation with agents.

If you run a business and need information on immigration services in San Diego, CA, reach out to KS Visa Law. From work visas to naturalization, we’re here to assist with a wide array of immigration-related needs. Call 858-874-0711 today to schedule an appointment.

April 2024