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Immigration Lawyers Help Qualified Immigrants Obtain Work Permits in the Twin Cities

Employers worried about getting caught in the crossfire of immigration reform


San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/03/2015 -- As immigration reform continues to be in the line of fire, small business owners in the St. Paul and Minneapolis areas are still concerned over the legal requirements that pertain to their immigrant employees. Some are anxious about how the deportation reprieves will play out for them — especially on the heels of a major increase in immigration audits since 2009 and are looking to immigration lawyers to protect both their businesses and valued employees.

"In Minnesota, 30,000 immigrants are estimated to qualify for programs granting three-year stays on deportation and work permits. A recent Migration Policy Institute study found two-thirds of people 16 or older in the state without legal status already have jobs. So, experts don't expect major shifts in the labor force," said Mila Koumpilova of the Star Tribune.

Moreover, many business owners are in need of hiring more willing workers and are negatively affected by waiting for their immigration paperwork to be processed. Remi Stone of the Builders Association of Minnesota, which represents general contractors, says small builders have struggled to grow as the industry rebounds in a tighter labor market: "Barriers to entry into our industry are one of our biggest problems."

Another issue that concerns employers is the threat of audits and steep fines for hiring undocumented workers. Minneapolis attorneys were among those who were in demand when audits went up 212 percent from 2008 to 2013, to 3,127, before dropping to 1,320 in the most recent fiscal year. Most employer fines, which exceeded $35 million last fiscal year, wer the result of missing or incorrectly filled-out paperwork, not the more severe charge of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.

In addition, as the laws and requirements change, many former illegal immigrants who now have proper work permits may lose their seniority at their jobs. Some employers might discover a longtime worker used an alias and fake personal information when first hired, says DeAnne Hilgers, a Minneapolis attorney on the national American Immigration Lawyers Association verification and documentation committee. While employers will face no hurdles in keeping workers on, there could be an issue for workplaces with honesty policies that call for disciplining employees who presented false information. With the help of a labor attorney, employers also might have to decide whether to treat these employees as new hires, which can affect seniority, pension and unemployment contributions.

As this tangle of immigration reformation gets more and more complex, St. Paul immigration attorneys are going to be needed to aid both employers and their employees as to the updated regulations. Fortunately, UpCounsel, an online legal marketplace with thousands of business lawyers available on-demand, can provide guidance to those who need step-by-step guidance to abiding within these new laws.

About UpCounsel
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Christina Morales
(888) 981-7449
178 Bluxome St., Suite 508
San Francisco, CA 94107