Since 2009, the spotlight has been on employers of visa holders more than the visa holders themselves, and this spotlight has exposed organizations to immigration audits. To best prepare for compliance reviews, site visits and other inquiries to verify proper measures are in place, HR should have a clearly defined, regularly updated immigration policy. There’s a reason an established compliance policy is the best defense against immigration audits. It could protect you from harsh penalties that accompany non-compliance.
Here are a few essentials that help make up a strong immigration compliance policy.
Make a strong business case
One of the most important and overlooked parts of a corporate immigration compliance policy is the business case. The policy should be built on a foundation of need. It should state the needs of the company and the reason for hires outside the country. This helps make a case for the support that you’re seeking, to ensure that your immigration sponsorships are compliant with U.S. immigration laws.
Create a process for hiring decisions
Decision-making procedures for new international hires should be outlined in the compliance policy to make sure there’s transparency throughout the organization and with outside counsel. This part of the policy can determine criteria for which hires should be considered and who should be sponsored. It’s also critical internally since it helps determine beforehand where in the budget immigration costs will be allocated.
Streamline a flow of information
Creating a process for information collection is essential so you don’t miss any compliance-critical paperwork along the way. This part of the policy outlines clearly how you’re going to get your hands on all the documentation you need, who is responsible for collecting what and where it’s all going to be stored. Using a technological platform is the simplest and most efficient way to keep that paperwork all in one easily accessible place.
Establish communication procedures
Communication between HR, hiring managers, employees and outside counsel should be seamless, fast and clear. Building a protocol into your compliance policy is the most effective way to make sure you’re communicating timely, thoroughly and with as much clarity as possible.
Complete internal immigration audits
Reviewing your policy, documentation and records for all visa sponsorships can prepare you for an audit or compliance review should it occur. This process is important to make sure there are no critical gaps in information that could have easily been avoided but could raise suspicions with the authorities.
To learn more, download our Compliance Guide below: