Can a foreign nanny legally find work in the US?

Courtesy of INA member HomeWork Solutions Inc.

In the United States, a family may legally hire a U.S. citizen, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien with a valid work permit. US employers are required to verify a candidate’s employment eligibility using Form I-9. REPUTABLE agencies will not refer individuals to you for consideration who do not have valid work authorization. If you hire on your own or via an online job matching service, you are responsible to confirm that the candidate you wish to hire is legally eligible for work in the U.S.

President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action

November 24, 2014 Update: President Obama’s recent executive order appears to make available temporary deferred action and authorization to work for undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay employment and income taxes.

How can the family help the foreign applicant residing abroad obtain work authorization?

The answer, unfortunately, is that it is almost impossible for a foreign nanny applicant residing abroad to obtain either an immigrant visa or a temporary work authorization in a timely manner. This process can take from many months to generally many years, longer than you or your children can wait.

Important Considerations

Occasionally, a family locates a non-documented immigrant or foreign national without US work authorization and is willing to take the chance and hire them any way. Family’s are encouraged to thoroughly evaluate this decision in advance. These individuals cannot obtain a US driver’s license in many states. This is even more true in the wake of 9/11. Absent a valid driver’s license, they can not legally drive your children or be added to your family automobile insurance. Additionally, most schools require government-issued proof of identity from adults before they will release a child to the adult, or even admit the adult to the school. These individuals often cannot legally authorize medical treatment for your children. This undocumented status can cause many headaches and some real dangers to the children.

In 2005 the US Department of Labor upgraded the category for live in domestic workers from unskilled to skilled workers. Under the US quota system, this places the foreign applicant in a position where visas may be available except for applicants from China, India and the Philippines. This DOES NOT apply to domestics already living and working in the US.

To Qualify:

  1. Applicant must have at least one year of experience as a household domestic worker.
  2. Applicant must be offered a full-time, permanent position in the US.
  3. The potential employer must apply for and receive approved Labor Certification from The Department of Labor.
  4. The employer must prove that your employment as a live in household worker is a business necessity.
  5. Employment offer must include a written contract and the wage paid must meet prevailing wage tests as established annually by the US Department of Labor for the metropolitan district where the work will be performed and be for full time employment.
  6. All US employment law, including the payment of employment taxes, must be adhered to.

The INA does not offer specific legal advice; we recommend that interested employers contact an attorney specializing in immigration and employment matters to discuss their individual circumstances. Our staff cannot discuss visa and immigration matters with potential employers and applicants.