Hiring foreign talent through the H-1B visa program can be a great way to boost your company’s success in your industry and create a more diverse and dynamic workforce. However, hiring an H-1B employee is not without its challenges, and any mistakes made by the sponsoring employer during the process can jeopardize the H-1B holder’s status in the United States and the company’s ability to hire foreign talent in the future. Here are some common mistakes U.S. employers make when navigating the H-1B program:
1. Mistakes in the Job Description
One of the most common H-1B pitfalls starts with the job description. Many companies inadvertently craft job descriptions that are too narrow or specific, which can limit the pool of potential candidates. To meet H-1B requirements, the job must be a “specialty occupation,” meaning it should require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field. It’s crucial to ensure that the job description reflects the actual duties and educational qualifications needed.
Errors When Filing the Labor Condition Application (LCA)
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is a critical component of the H-1B process. Companies must file the LCA with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) before submitting the H-1B petition to USCIS. The LCA must be filed no earlier than 6 months before the employee’s start date as indicated on the LCA.
Common mistakes in the LCA include inaccuracies in the prevailing wage rate determination, incorrect work location details, or missing or inconsistent information. Errors in the LCA can result in delays or denials, so it’s essential to carefully review and complete this form accurately. You can learn more about the LCA process and how to comply with LCA regulations in our guide here.
Incomplete or Incorrect Filing Fees
Another common mistake U.S. employers make when sponsoring H-1B employees is submitting a petition with incomplete or incorrect government filing fees. Failing to submit the appropriate fees can result in delays and even rejection of the H-1B petition.
To see a complete breakdown of the H-1B filing fees and any additional costs to expect when sponsoring an H-1B employee, check out our cost guide.
H-1B regulations require employers to pay their H-1B employees the higher of the actual wage paid to other employees in the same role or the prevailing wage for the occupation. U.S. employers must also pay the H-1B employee no later than 30 days after they enter the country on an H-1B visa (or 60 days after the visa’s validity date if the employee is already in the U.S. on H-1B status). Failure to meet these wage requirements can lead to H-1B program violations and serious consequences under U.S. immigration law. Companies should conduct thorough wage surveys and ensure compliance with prevailing wage requirements to prevent potential legal issues.
Failure to Keep Organized Documentation
Maintaining organized and up-to-date documentation is crucial for compliance under the H-1B program. Companies must keep records of all H-1B documents, including the LCA, H-1B petitions, employee resumes, job postings, and any communication with government agencies. Failure to maintain organized documentation can make it difficult to respond to government inquiries or audits and may result in penalties or visa program violations.
Need more help on how to manage work visa compliance? We’ve got you covered.