Recruiting, hiring and verifying a talented and legal workforce in a burgeoning economic hotspot like the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex is a continuing challenge for employers.
- H-1B Visas. The competition for international talent is strong in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex according to a report from the Brookings Institute. H-1B visas for professionals and persons in a specialty occupation are limited by a federal quota. DFW employers had 19,824 H-1B approvals during fiscal year 2013-2014, second only to New York in metropolitan areas and ahead of the Silicon Valley region. Statistics for fiscal year 2014 – 2015 are not yet available, but 172,000 petitions were filed in hopes of receiving one of the 65,000 visas available for that fiscal year. The USCIS is completing its acceptance of H-1B visa petitions this week for fiscal year 2015 – 2016. Planning ahead and knowing the rules are paramount in being successful in this competition. H-1B wage and public file rules are strict and employers are subject to audits even after the visas are granted.
- E-Verify and Texas State Agency Contracts. E-Verify, the online electronic system for verifying employees, keeps gaining steam (500,000 employers currently enrolled at 1.4 million hiring sites, with 1,400 new employers joining weekly). E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. Is the Texas Executive Order RP 80 (December 3, 2014) requiring all state agency employees and companies (including subcontractors) doing business with Texas state agencies to use E-Verify for all current and new hires legal? The general rule is that only new hires can be run though E-Verify with the exception of the Federal Acquisition Rule. Employers with state agency contracts in Texas are encouraged to discuss this issue with legal counsel before acting.