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Avoid these potential pitfalls when hiring a foreign employee

It goes without saying that hiring a foreign employee is more difficult than hiring someone who is currently a citizen of the United States. While you may run into some challenges along the way, there's a good chance that you realize this is the best decision you can make for your company.

In addition to the many federal laws for bringing a foreign employee into the country, you also need to consider one other thing: The employment structure in other parts of the world is not the same as the United States.

Here are some of the potential pitfalls to avoid when hiring a foreign employee:

  • Offering a position of at-will employment. While this may be standard in the United States, most other countries don't follow this same concept in regard to the employer-employee relationship.
  • Time away from work. In the United States, it's not uncommon for an employer to use the phrase "paid time off" as a catch all. However, in other countries, there are distinct legal categories for each type of leave.
  • Exempt vs. non-exempt employees. In the United States, there is large numbers of workers in both categories. Other countries don't take the same approach. In Europe, for example, most people are exempt (with senior executives being the most common exception).

As you can see, these details don't have much to do with the act of helping a foreign employee obtain a work visa. Instead, they are all about helping the individual understand the finer details of the employer-employee relationship in the United States.

As a business owner who wants to hire a foreign employee, you'll need to learn more about the steps you can take to help the person obtain a work visa. You'll also need to explain the way things work in the United States, so that the employee has a clear understanding of what he or she is agreeing to. With this approach, everyone is on the same page from the start.

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