How Are You Tracking Foreign National Employee Status Changes?

January 18, 2018 Chelsea Iversen

Recently, we asked HR professionals how they track status changes for foreign national employees. Their responses showed us that not everyone is tracking employee status changes, and those who are doing it might be looking for a better method.

Forty percent of HR professionals told us all their status changes are updated in their HRIS. Seventeen percent said they have no real process for tracking status changes, and seven percent of employers told us they don’t attempt to track status changes at all.

Tracking employment status is a key pillar of corporate immigration compliance. If a foreign national employee, say, moves locations, gets a promotion, or has a change in pay, HR needs to not only know about it, but needs to be involved. The visa status of the foreign national making the change and your company’s compliance with U.S. immigration law could be at risk if a change is not properly tracked.

How tracking status changes can help you stay compliant

How tracking status changes can help you stay compliant

There are some employment-based visas that are location-, role- or salary-specific. These visas require either a change to be filed with the authorities or a new petition to be submitted, depending on the terms of the visa.

The H-1B visa, for example, has rules about any “material change” in the terms and conditions laid out in the original petition. An amended petition must be filed with the corresponding LCA if there is a material change.

In addition, the immigration policies and procedures in other countries are in flux and may not be fully understood by every manager in your organization. Allowing managers to relocate personnel in other countries could potentially lead to your organization being noncompliant with that country’s immigration laws. Tracking employee status changes can help global immigration management run smoothly.

Track status changes - Immigration compliance

Be sure to set up a system that encourages managers to send you information regarding any employee status changes. Then, be sure to have a way to flag status changes that could impact an employee’s visa status in the U.S. or changes that could impact your company’s compliance overseas.

Translating status changes into immigration compliance

Among the HR professionals we surveyed, only about a third (34 percent) told us they, or their HRIS, notifies their immigration counsel or immigration partner of a status change. Only 10 percent said their HRIS automatically notifies or has direct feed for their immigration partner. Automation or not, getting information about employee status changes into the right hands is critical to staying compliant with immigration law – in the U.S. and abroad.

To learn more about other trends in the industry, take a look at the Changing Landscape of Immigration Management report, sponsored by Envoy and HR Daily Advisor.

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