How Immigration Laws and Requirements Can Impact Your Business

Hiring immigrants be a great asset to your business as you try to bring in top talent. However, it can also come with some complications that can cause you to worry – and require you to know to ensure your company is compliant with all immigration laws.

Check out these common ways immigration laws can impact your business.

How Termination Effects Those on an H-1B Visa

If an individual obtains an H-1B visa, he or she is allowed to legally work in the United States temporarily while they perform that job. Terminating this person’s employment due to layoffs or firings can negatively impact the person and your company.

To terminate an H-1B employee, immigration laws need to be considered. In addition to notifying the employee that their position has been ended, you must also contact the Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You will also need to cover the cost of their transportation to return to their home country. Failure to follow these conditions can require you to keep paying the employee even after letting them go.

Obligation to Verify Work Authorization

Since 1986, all U.S. employers must verify an employee’s identity and authorization to legally work in the United States. Employers must have all employees complete an I-9 form and collect necessary forms of identification to keep for their records. This needs to be done to all employees, not just immigrants.

Failure to complete an I-9 on all employees can result in criminal charges against companies. To ensure all appropriate documentation has been gathered, many businesses consult an immigration attorney to walk them through the steps, evaluate their processes, and make sure they are compliant.

Use E-Verify

Many businesses are using an E-Verify program to ensure their employees are correctly authorized to work in the United States. This is mandatory for some companies.

Through this, employers can get an electronic verification from the government telling them if the employee is eligible to work for them.

This program is helpful to ensure companies are compliant with immigration laws when hiring new employees, but it also has some requirements you need to be aware of. One of the biggest is that ICE can check your employment records without notice. You also do not get immunity from anyone you hired before implementing E-Verify.

You Need to Be Careful About Questions You Ask

Employers need to be extremely careful when interviewing job candidates. To protect employees, companies cannot deny individuals employment due to immigration or citizenship status. This is tricky because you want to ensure you are offering a job to someone who can legally work for you.

To cover this, you have the I-9 form, and you are allowed to ask the following:

· Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?

· Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?

These are Yes or No questions. You cannot expand on these and ask, “Where are you from?” or any other question related to their citizenship. Even if you are just making small talk, you’re not allowed to ask because it could be held against you if you do not hire the person. They could say you were prejudiced against them based on their nationality, even if that is not the case. You are better off just not knowing and sticking to the basics so you do not violate immigration laws.

Contact Us for Guidance on Immigration Laws

When hiring immigrants, make sure you comply with all immigration laws and mandates, and understand how they can impact your business. To ensure you comply, let our immigration attorneys at Johnstone Adams LLC help you.

Ranked in the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.

To get started, contact us at 251-319-4659 or

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