With H-1B Cap premium processing winding down, employers will soon start to get back petitions that were not selected in the lottery. Employees who have other statuses, such as F-1 OPT or L-1, can just keep working and their employers can try again next year. For others, however, if the FY2020 cap was their only option until FY2021, employers may need to make other plans. Before you part ways with a stellar nonimmigrant employee, give a thought to global options.
Return Home: Having your employee work remotely from their home country is the easiest option from an immigration perspective. While this may have labor law, digital security, and tax implications for US employers, an employee who is living in their country of citizenship can work for any employer, anywhere in the world, without the need for sponsorship or immigration processes. This may not be a viable long-term solution, given time zones or other considerations, but it can be a short-term tactic while pursuing other alternatives in the US or elsewhere in the world.
Work in Other Countries: Companies that wish to transfer employees outside the US have some great options, including the following:
Canada: Our northern neighbor is attractive for several reasons. In Canada, employees can work in the same time zones as the US. In addition, companies with Canadian branches can transfer current employees to Canada through the “Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit.” Similar to the US L-1 visa, the ICT permit requires that the worker have at least one year of employment with the sending company, as well as specialized knowledge or managerial duties.
Mexico: Heading south of the border can also be a good option for employees who can be hosted by a Mexican company while remaining on the US payroll because Mexico has a relatively simple “Temporary Resident Process” for assignees who are paid outside of Mexico.
United Kingdom: Ideal for EU citizens, the UK is also an option for citizens of non-EU countries who have been with a US employer for a year and can be assigned to a UK branch. Unlike the US L-1B visa or the Canadian ICT permit, the UK does not require that an employee have specialized knowledge.
Depending on the company and employee, Ireland, the Netherlands or Singapore may be other viable alternatives.
Act Quickly: Immigration processes outside the US usually take at least 6 to 12 weeks. While this is faster than many US processes, it still takes time. We encourage employers to act quickly in considering alternatives, and we will be happy to advise on individual situations.
Not ready to send your employee overseas? Our next article will cover US alternatives to the H‑1B.