Several years ago, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds starred in a movie that was based on the premise that she was a high powered publisher and Canadian native, working in New York on an expired visa, and the hilarious and romantic story of how her immigration troubles brought them together.
The story was even funnier when you knew that Bullock is a native Texan, while Reynolds is the Canadian, but for employers, it highlighted a very unfunny problem: with so much international movement of employees, how can they protect themselves from trouble with immigration?
The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law, and one of those is to conduct a comprehensive international background check.
If You’re Hiring from Abroad
It’s not uncommon these days for companies to recruit top candidates from other countries. If you are looking for your talent overseas, make sure that you hire an immigration professional to help with the process.
Immigration laws change all the time, and it can be tough to stay on top of what is legal and required all the time, when you’re trying to run a business too!
Immigration attorneys or consultants are paid to know the law at all times, and while they can’t technically do anything you can’t do yourself, they can make a difficult and time consuming process a little less frustrating to navigate.
Get Copies of Immigration Documents
Whether your employee is a temporary foreign worker, an international student with permission to work in Australia or somewhere else on the immigration spectrum, they are going to have some form of paperwork that proves their legal status in the country.
If you are hiring a foreigner who is not a permanent resident or naturalized citizens, make sure that you get a copy of their documents, and that you see the original as part of your international background check. Remember that it’s not unheard of for people to forge immigration documents, so it’s important that you see the original document too.
Take Note of Expiration Dates
Temporary immigration documents (work permits and study permits) tend to be for a fixed time frame, and they will almost certainly have an expiration date. Continuing to employ that person beyond that date, without receiving updated paperwork, can land you in hot water with immigration officials.
Make sure that you know when each employee’s legal status runs out, and that you get updated documents before that date.
Help with Permanent Residence
If you have a great employee, and they are currently in Australia with temporary status, you may want to help them to become permanent residents. This will mean that they won’t need to worry about renewing documents every few years.
If you do choose to go this route, you will be required to provide supporting documentation and possibly other items as part of the process, but since the immigration department does do medical, employment, education and criminal screening on all immigrants, depending on the type of immigration, you may be able to avoid a few elements of the international background check process!