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Four Compliance-Related Mistakes Companies Must Avoid When Bringing an Employee into the United States

If you are assigning one of your employees in the U. S., you need to comply with the country’s immigration rules. Immigration laws can seem straightforward; however, there is always a risk of non-compliance. Your human resource department must know the different immigration violations that can happen and the possible consequences of compliance. To avoid these issues, it is often best for a company to hire a Dallas Business Immigration Lawyer to handle the immigration process for them. The following are examples of immigration issues that result from a company’s non-compliance with applicable laws:

Using the Wrong Kind of Visa

Employees will need to have a business visa or work permit to enter the U. S. But, if they enter the country on a visitor or tourist visa before they get the proper permit, they can’t work until they get an approved visa. In addition, the United States has particular visa types that must be acquired, depending on the employee’s industry, managerial level, and technical skill. Organizations and companies that bring foreign nationals to the United States for work purposes must know such differences and submit the right visa application, together with supporting documentation.


For individual regulators, overstaying in the U. S. with an expired visa can be simply remedied with a fine. But, businesses need to renew their business visas or work permits promptly to ensure their employee or company won’t face immigration restrictions and penalties in the future.

Taking Part in Restricted Visa Activity

Often, a business visa is designed to allow a foreign worker to take part in business activity limited to sales, attending meetings, and marketing. Taking part in a revenue-related activity like concluding contracts is not allowed. The use of business visas for mobile employees may alert immigration to possible violations. 

Failing to Meet Obligations

Failure to pay employee or employer tax, social contributions, or wage can delay a work visa application. Also, the red flag can create travel issues for the employee. Employers should not use business visas to avoid meeting local employment obligations to avoid facing back payments or penalties if their employee needs a work permit.

Companies that are planning to bring an employee into the United States must meet specific qualification requirements and apply for the right visa. Non-compliance can happen when a company gets the wrong kind of visa, does not verify the identity of the employee, and uses a short-term business visa for longer stays.

Failing to Consider World Events and Policy Changes

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have to make a lot of unforeseen policy and procedural changes that affect international travel. Business and leisure travelers face different types of disruptions such as barriers to entry because of lengthy delays and visa issuance suspension, possible quarantine periods, and local COVID-19 prevention measures. In some countries, leadership changes also happen, predicating a policy change. Thus, every company that is planning to assign an employee in the U. S. should be well-informed about developments in the country. The company must act promptly if unexpected changes occur.

Failing to Provide Statutory Entitlements and Benefits

Companies that want to bring an employee into the U. S. must ensure this employee gets statutory entitlements and benefits. Benefits such as health insurance and vacation leave are known; however, mandatory pension contributions and paid maternity leave might be a surprise for some companies. Thus, before sending an employee to the U. S., a company must ensure their American branch has calculated entitlements and benefits the employee will deserve.

Failing to Seek Immigration Support

Immigration and related requirements are crucial. Immigration law, border controls, and regulatory environments must be contended with. However, these can be time-consuming and confusing, so it is important to prepare for them by working with an immigration attorney. An experienced lawyer will make sure an employee’s expatriation is in line with both national and international immigration policy for the original country and host country. Likewise, visas and residency applications must be sent off to ensure the employee can continue.

Non-compliance with immigration law can result in unexpected costs, legal challenges, project delays, or deportation of the employee. Also, not considering local employment law can possibly open a company up to lawsuits, unhappy employees, and delays in deliverables. By hiring an immigration attorney from the get-go, companies can avoid these issues.

Failing to Consider the Corporate Tax Position

The corporate tax position can affect the employee to be assigned abroad and vice versa. Because of this, companies must ensure smooth communication between their tax and mobility departments. They need to consider whether they have to establish a new entity to meet local immigration, legal, and tax requirements and which entity must bear the costs for the remuneration of the employee and other costs.

Failing to Document

To ensure compliance when assigning an employee to the United States, proper documentation is important. For instance, the home entity and host entity can execute a secondment agreement to help reduce Permanent Establishment risk by limiting the activities the expatriate employee can take part in while in the U. S. Also, this agreement can identify the responsibilities and limitations of both entities. Other important documentation companies must take into account include forms for minimizing or eliminating withholding requirements, assignment letters that spell out the agreement between the employer and the employee, expatriate assignment and tax equalization policies, as well as employment contracts.