Most visas are awarded on a company-specific basis. For the most part, any time there’s a change in employer, a new visa petition must be filed. And, when there’s a change in status for a visa-holding employee – such as a change in title, salary, responsibilities or location – it’s typically standard practice to notify USCIS of the change. The actions you should take in the case of a merger, acquisition or other shift often fall somewhere in the middle of an employer change and a status change. If your company employs foreign nationals, corporate restructuring and immigration are inextricably linked.
Corporate Restructuring and Immigration
The relationship between corporate restructuring and immigration, however, is hardly cut and dry. The list of corporate changes that could impact your foreign national employees is extensive, and various complications arise with the multiple forms corporate restructuring can take – from mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, spin-offs, consolidations, name changes and relocations to downsizing, layoffs, bankruptcy, reorganizations and more. And there are nuances in liability within each of those categories. All of these factors make corporate restructuring and immigration complex and will directly impact your foreign national employees.
HR’s primary responsibility is to recognize upcoming corporate changes that could have an effect on your immigration processes. It’s important to evaluate the consequences for each visa holder before the corporate restructuring begins so you’re prepared. This process can get complicated, especially if you employ a high number of foreign nationals. Not only does the type of visa have an impact, but the nature of the corporate changes can also vary the consequences on immigration.
The complicated nature of mergers, acquisitions and other corporate changes on immigration makes it imperative to consult with your legal counsel. The legal consequences for every foreign national employee are conditional based on the visa regulations and the nature of the changes happening in the company. Informing your counsel of the details of your foreign national employees’ visas and the corporate restructuring to take place can help you transition with compliance in mind.