Construction Law

5 Reasons to Consult a Tampa Business Immigration Attorney featured image

5 Reasons to Consult a Tampa Business Immigration Attorney

Hiring top talent is important in the construction industry. From builders and developers to engineers and architects, you may have qualified and talented applicants with citizenship in other countries. When that is the case, a Tampa employment immigration lawyer can help. 

Whether you have hired employees from outside of the U.S. in the past or you are considering bringing in new talent for the first time, there are several reasons to consult a Tampa business immigration lawyer.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Visa and a Green Card?

Sponsoring an Employee for a Workplace Visa

When sponsoring an employee for a workplace visa, there are several aspects that a Tampa employment immigration lawyer can help navigate. Visa provisions authorize the employment of select qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States. This is intended to help workers in specialty occupations, temporary workers, intra-company transfers, priority workers, skilled or professional workers, and foreign investors. In many cases, a work visa is valid for up to three years and renewable for another three years. 

To sponsor an employee for a workplace visa, you must notify the U.S. workforce and submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA/Form 9035/9035E) to the DOL for certification. This process may be lengthy, and specific deadlines apply throughout the process. 

Current laws limit the number of qualifying foreign workers who may obtain an H-1B visa, and the process to sponsor an employee can be complex. An immigraiton lawyer will discuss each visa type, ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed, and that all needs are met to satisfy visa requirements. 

Related: Advantages of the EB-5 Visa Program

Ensuring I-9 and Other Forms are in Compliance

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Without a completed I-9, the business may incur fines or be at risk of major issues, and the employee may be terminated for failing to provide proper documentation. 

Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form, and proper documentation must be presented for employment within the first three days of employment. Documentation can include a passport, citizenship documentation, a permanent resident card, employment authorization document, and other forms of identification. 

A Tampa construction lawyer will ensure that I-9 forms for all employees, whether U.S. citizens or those working on a visa, are completed properly. Additionally, an attorney will help ensure that the documentation provided is acceptable proof of identity and authorization to work. 

Related: All About I-9 Compliance

Understanding Temporary and Permanent Employee Visas

When hiring employees who are in the U.S. with a visa of any type, it is important to understand the different challenges and requirements of both temporary or permanent employee visas. 

Permanent employment visas include: 

  • EB-1: Priority workers – Managers, professors, and people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • EB-2: Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability.
  • EB-3: Skilled or professional workers. Some unskilled workers may also apply.
  • EB-4: Special immigrants, which may include religious workers and overseas employees of the U.S. government.
  • EB-5: Foreign investors.

Temporary employment visas include:

  • E-1: Treaty trader from a country that trades with the U.S.
  • H1B: Specialty occupation, which requires specific degrees and experience.
  • H-2: Temporary worker.
  • L-1: Intra-company transfers.
  • TN Professionals: Individuals in specific professions from Canada and Mexico.

Tampa contractor lawyers will discuss the differences between employee visas and ensure that all contractors and subcontractors on any given project have the appropriate visa for the length and scope of the project. 

Reduction of Liability if Subcontractors are Out of Compliance

Despite ensuring that all documentation is correct and in compliance, there may be subcontractors on a project who have chosen to employ unauthorized workers. You can be held liable if a subcontractor employs unauthorized workers. 

A Tampa construction attorney can review all aspects of the project, including all subcontractors who may be working on various projects, and help ensure that the proper legal protections are in place for potential compliance-related issues. He or she will also draft documentation to reduce or eliminate your liability. 

Avoidance of Potential Legal Issues

If you are sponsoring an employee visa or working with an employee who has an existing visa, you must meet recurring deadlines to update documentation. Failing to do so may result in the employee losing their visa, the business being fined, or other potential legal issues. Furthermore, the employee may be required to pay taxes in both the U.S. and their country of origin (which may need to be arranged by the employer), and there may be foreign employment and labor laws to uphold. 

A Tampa employment immigration lawyer will help ensure that all documentation is kept up to date and that potential penalties are avoided. Additionally, legal counsel will ensure that any potential disputes that may arise from an employee working on a visa are resolved quickly. The attorney will work to understand any foreign laws that must be adhered to and ensure that dual taxation is clearly communicated and understood by all parties. 

If you own a business and would like to hire talent from other countries, an immigration attorney from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants may be your best ally. The importance of following the correct procedures for hiring foreign employees cannot be understated. You need to have knowledgeable staff on your side. A Tampa business immigration lawyer can guide you in I-9 compliance, ensuring employees have the proper visa, reducing liability for subcontractor employment practices, and more. 

If you would like to speak with a Tampa business immigration attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.