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What Should Your Company's Green Card Policy Look Like?

Bridge Team Member

Many companies that sponsor green cards for international employees have a green card policy in place. Having a structured and competitive green card policy can determine whether or not an international employee will be able to stay with your company on the longterm, but what is a competitive policy these days, and how can your company’s green card policy stand out?

Be Transparent

No matter what your green card policy looks like being open about the details, costs, and timelines of a possible sponsorship early on in the process is always a good idea. As discussed in an earlier blog post about using immigration policies and strategies to get ahead in the current war for talent, a company’s green card policy is a major consideration for a candidate when evaluating an employer.

While your company may not even think about green card sponsorship early in the hiring process, a candidate will most likely already consider the benefits of eventually obtaining an employment based green card before they even enter the U.S. on their nonimmigrant visa. Remember that many employees move their entire family to the U.S. along with them. Your company’s green card policy will determine if an employee’s dependents will have a future in the country as well, which will ultimately affect your employee’s career choices. 

Keep Timelines in Mind

When establishing your company’s green card policy, one of the main factors to consider is when an international employee will be eligible to start the process. You might want to start the process immediately, require the employee to have worked with the company in the U.S. for at least one year or more, or you might chose not to start the process until a specific number of years before the employee's visa max out date.

When considering eligibility, keep in mind your employee’s current visa status as well as their country of birth, since this will have a significant impact on the total length of the green card process. Being clear about the eligibility for green card sponsorship will keep you and your employee on the same page when it comes to a long term career with your company.

Make it Clear Who Pays for What

You want to be very specific on who will cover the cost of the green card sponsorship. Will your company pay for the entire process? Will the employee be responsible for a part of the costs, such as attorney fees or filing fees, or all of them? Who will pay for the green card applications for accompanying family members?

No matter who is responsible for the costs, make sure to be very clear about the details before you start the process and have all costs and financial responsibilities outlined in the permanent residency sponsorship agreement between your company and the international employee. Always keep in mind that your company is responsible for all costs related to the PERM process, regardless of who will pay for the I-140 and I-485 stages of the green card process. The decision on who will be responsible for the costs can be a major factor in whether or not an employee is willing or able to go through the green card process and stay with your company on the long term. 

While there are many different factors to consider when establishing your company’s green card policy, having a well-thought out and employee-friendly policy can give your company a big advantage over others in the market. 

Should you have any questions about how this impacts your business or employees, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@bridge.legal.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.

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