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Hiring A Foreign Caregiver in the USA

By Michael Niren April 24, 2016 (Updated April 5, 2023) 6 min. read
Caregiver US

Many people find themselves in need of a caregiver, whether for themselves, their children, a parent, or a disabled relative. Meanwhile, in addition to the challenges of managing childcare when many families have both parents working, AARP reports an impending shortage of family caregivers, in a country where a significant portion of the population is approaching old age. Although there is not a specific caregiver visa in the US, and processing times may take long, you are given a couple of options!

AARP states that “the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace with future demand,” with the ratio of caregivers 45-64 to individuals in the “high-risk years of 80-plus” predicted to rise to 4 to 1 in 2030. As a result, more people are expected to require institutional care rather than care by family members.

If you are considering looking outside the United States for possible caregiver options, you can go about sponsoring a caregiver in a few different ways. Each visa option comes with advantages and disadvantages, but once you know the requirements, you will be better able to determine which is likely to work for you and your family. Here are two of the standard visas used to sponsor a caregiver in the United States.

H-2B Visa for Caregivers

The H-2B visa allows a family to sponsor a particular caregiver themselves, though the process is more complicated. As the USCIS explains, the visa allows individual employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. In this case, the family sponsoring a caregiver would need to prove that there are not enough US workers who can do the work and that hiring an employee through the H-2B program will not affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers. The family must also show that their need for the caregiver’s services or labor is temporary as well as provide a valid temporary labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL).

The USCIS states that there are three major steps to the process:

  1. The petitioner (the family sponsoring the caregiver) submits a temporary labor certification application to DOL.
  2. The applicant submits Form l-129 to USCIS.
  3.  Prospective workers outside the US apply for a visa (or admission to the United States in H-2B classification with CBP in cases where a permit is not required).

There is an annual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas (H-2B workers “identified as ‘returning employees” are exempt). It is also important to check whether the caregiver you wish to employ is from a country on the H-2B Eligible Countries List.

If you are interested in becoming a caregiver to a family as an Au Pair, you may want to check out our page on J-1 visas.

Hiring a Caregiver for a Green Card

PERM Labor Certification

An employer in the United States who intends to sponsor a caregiver for a green card must begin the process by advertising the work at the “prevailing wage” as determined by the United States Department of Labor. (DOL). The DOL will approve the PERM application if an employer can demonstrate that no minimally qualified American workers applied for the position. This procedure typically takes 6-8 months.

I-140 Visa Petition

Following the approval of the PERM application, the employer must file a visa petition with the Immigration Service. (USCIS). The business must demonstrate that they can pay the needed remuneration to the caregiver and that the caregiver has the necessary experience to perform the job obligations. Although the government can take months to decide on such applications, if the employer pays a $1,410 premium processing charge to the USCIS, the agency is required to act within 15 working days.

Green Card Interview

Following the approval of the visa petition, the caregiver will get a letter from the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) including a list of papers that must be provided to the government as well as an invoice for filing fees. The caregiver (together with their spouse and children) will be booked for a green card interview, which will often take place in the US Embassy or Consulate in their country. Prior to the interview, they will have medical checks and be fingerprinted. The officer’s role at the Embassy is to ensure that the caregiver and her/his family are “admissible” to the United States.

Once the caregiver’s immigrant visa is accepted, they can fly to the United States and begin working!

EB-3 Visa for Caregivers

The EB-3 (Other Worker) visa is a permanent US visa that allows the caregiver to live and work in America permanently.

The EB-3 visa does not require any specific skills, credentials, or experience on the caregiver’s behalf in order for you to be given the visa to work in the United States. The caregiver must, however, be physically strong and healthy, as well as be able to speak and understand English. They don’t need any prior caregiving experience, but if they do, it’s a fantastic career move.

The goal of this visa category is to bring in immigrants to fill a labor shortage in the United States, and our employers require caregivers. The sole prerequisites and restrictions for the EB-3 Other Worker Visa are that the caregiver be physically competent of working a normal permanent job in America.

Taxes and Withholding

When you have a live-in caregiver in your house, you’re officially an employer. If your new employee wants you to withhold income tax, you can, but it’s not mandatory. You must take out Social Security and Medicare if you pay him — as of 2014 — $1,900 or more. The total tax is 15.3 percent of wages, with you and your employee each paying half the amount. You may also have to take out for unemployment insurance. IRS Publication 926 provides full instructions for household employers.

If your live-in caregiver is watching over a child under 13, or a spouse or dependent who can’t care for herself, you may qualify for a tax credit. The Child and Dependent Care credit is available if you need the caregiver’s services to work or job-hunt. If you’re married, both you and your spouse must need the service for those reasons. The largest possible credit is based on up to $3,000 worth of expenses if the caregiver watches one person or up to $6,000 for two or more. You multiply this dollar amount by a certain percentage based on our own income — between 20 and 35 percent — to calculate the actual credit.

Interested in Sponsoring a Foreign Caregiver to the United States?

Immigrating to the US is not a completely straightforward process. The laws are somewhat complex, and for this reason, it helps to work with an immigration professional to help you.

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for VisaPlace legal, an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-877-296-0874.

Have a Question related to your Immigration Needs?

Fill out the FREE Immigration Assessment form and get a response within 24 hours to see if you’re eligible.

The assessment form should take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. We will get back to you within one business day to let you know if we are able to help.

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