A number of American businesses are teaming up with immigration lawyers in an attempt to make it easier for their foreign employees to assume US citizenship.
A number of health clinics and hotels, along with a clothing factory, based in greater Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and California’s Silicon Valley, offer on-site citizenship assistance as one of the perks of the job as they aim to make naturalization more convenient for the 8.5 million legal immigrants currently eligible to become US citizens.
“You create some sense of loyalty,” Leonie Timothee, human resources manager at InterContinental Miami, a luxury hotel that has helped six employees apply to naturalise in the last year, told The International News. “It is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life, and to know your place of employment helped you, assisted you in becoming a citizen, I think that’s a great deal.”
Since last year, 19 companies have so far signed up to participate in this new initiative thought up by the Washington-based National Immigration Forum to help more people become citizens.
Legal immigrants can apply to become American citizens after they have held a permanent residency green card for five years and passed English and civics tests. However, immigrants often take longer to naturalise as they can’t afford the application fees, fear their English isn’t good enough or simply don’t know enough about the process, studies have shown.