There have always been risks involved in disjointed global hiring and mobility practices. Today, however, noncompliance is riskier than ever. A compliance policy checklist is a good first start to help you face today’s intense immigration scrutiny.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that, since the start of the Trump administration, the numbers for H-1B approvals are the lowest they have been in years. In November, the number of H-1B visa petitions that were challenged reached 46.6 percent, while accepted H-1B visa applications was down by 10 percent from the same time last year.
USCIS has also increased the number of requests for evidence issued to employers of H-1B visa petitioners.
If you’re not hiring any H-1B visa applicants, but your company does sponsor green cards, you’re still facing roadblocks. In-person interviews are necessary for work-sponsored green card applicants, an uncommon practice until this year.
And even if hiring foreign talent isn’t on your radar at all (which is pretty unlikely), you are still at risk of noncompliance as soon as you send your employees across borders.
Compliance policy checklist
Though there is no catch-all solution, there is a way to get control over immigration management, and that’s to establish a compliance policy that works. Here’s a brief compliance policy checklist with a few must-haves to help you get started:
Your corporate compliance policy should be based on need, which means getting leadership’s acceptance of the hiring situation at your company is a must. In most cases, staying compliant with immigration law relies on the need to hire foreign talent, and where better to start than the top?
Process for hiring
Establish your process for determining qualified candidates and visa sponsorships in your compliance policy. Make it clear to anyone hiring (including non-HR hiring managers) that there needs to be a culture of transparency to stay in compliance with U.S. law.
Process for travel
Business travel compliance is one of the biggest points of confusion for anyone who’s not familiar with global immigration. Use your corporate compliance policy to make travel requirements crystal clear. (For instance, no one should be sending employees across international borders without letting HR know first.)
Put a process in place for how you’re going to collect, share and store immigration documentation. This is an important part of your compliance policy to ensure no single piece of paper gets lost in any shuffle. Pro tip: cloud technology is the best way to help with that.
Regular audits of your immigration documentation is an essential piece of your compliance policy. Why? The government is upping their audit game this year, and you can get ahead by putting a plan in place for who is in charge of conducting internal audits, how often and what will be checked out.