The latter points are important. The need for immigration sponsorship often is urgent, but questions asked tend to be cursory. Often, those responsible for hiring obtain little substantive information until experienced legal department and HR personnel get involved.
If there is one step that should come ahead of others in this hypothetical Monday scenario, it is this: The GC should recommend that the HR manager tell the new hire to maintain his current employment until the HR manager advises him it is safe to notify the soon-to-be former employer. A job seeker's premature notice to his current employer may result in employment termination before completion of immigration proceedings needed to transfer the worker's employment authorization. This may lead to immigration complications further down the line.
The next step is to ensure there is an employee-transfer and new-employment start plan and to set realistic timelines. It pays to effectuate the transfer properly and without the haste that may cause errors in immigration strategy errors or force the employee to start on the job prematurely.
After the GC obtains answers to the questions above and revises the possibly unrealistic expectations regarding the new worker's ability to start immediately, it's time to discuss immigration options with a lawyer who focuses on immigration law. That attorney invariably will ask for copies of all immigration documents the new worker has in his possession (for himself and his family), the new hire's résumé and job-offer details.
There is a U.S. visa for, virtually, every letter of the alphabet. Immigration options can range from an H-1B visa (for a professional) to an L-1 visa (for an intra-company transferee) to a TN visa (possibly, for Bob, the Canadian IT wiz) to an E-2 visa (for an international executive). But specific immigration options depend on the company's and job candidate's unique characteristics and circumstances. The legal department needs to put all options on the table and present the management team with costs and time schedules before making the final sponsorship commitment.
Irina Plumlee is a shareholder in Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas.