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How Can Employers Prepare for Tougher Immigration Laws?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

While not all employers will be impacted by the incoming president's plans to reform immigration, any employer that hires non-permanent resident immigrants may have to change the way they do business. A principal concern for employers that hire immigrant workers is whether and how the process will change, particularly for H-1B visas.

Unless you've been intentionally avoiding the news, you've likely heard about plans to "reform" business immigration, punish sanctuary cities, and deport undocumented immigrants. While many political analysts speculated that Trump's campaign promises were empty threats, businesses might be well advised to have a contingency plan in place and to get ready for change. Speculators believe that Trump may push for the imposition of stricter requirements for showing the need for H-1B workers.

Hiring Immigrant Workers

Businesses that hire green card holders, also known as lawful permanent residents, don't have to worry about the changes to immigration policy. Hiring a permanent resident is generally no different than hiring a regular citizen, and that is not expected to change.

However, businesses that hire foreign migrant/seasonal workers or day-laborers, or actually go through the process to hire skilled foreign labor through the H-1B process, should be ready to adapt. That process generally requires businesses and prospects to meet certain requirements, which reformers are hoping become much stricter.

Despite the president-elect hiring foreign workers for his own businesses, he has vowed to reform immigration policies to make it more difficult and cumbersome for U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers. What this means and will actually result in is unfortunately unknown.

How to Prepare?

Perhaps the best way to prepare for the change is to be financially ready for the worst. Because a big part of hiring foreign workers are the labor cost savings, being ready may just mean holding off on spending some capital now in order to make sure there is adequate cash in your business to spend more on hiring local labor later, when/if policies actually change.

Until actual changes are announced, you should make sure all your employment visa requests and associated documents are filled out and filed correctly. When changes are made, it is likely that the effects will be delayed, and that there will be court challenges that forestall the policies taking effect.

Lastly, seeking out the help of an experienced business immigration attorney to discuss your business's long-term needs and develop a plan to meet those needs is always a good idea. A local business attorney can help you devise a plan specific to your individual business's needs. 

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