Navigating Immigration Compliance for Manufacturing and Other Employers Amidst Strikes


The unfolding strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) against the Detroit Three automakers has sparked a series of concerns among manufacturers and various entities within the automotive supply chain. Initiating on September 15, 2023, the strike has driven companies to examine loss mitigation strategies like furloughs, pay cuts, altered schedules, and layoffs. Nonetheless, employers utilizing foreign workers are met with an intricate scenario – ensuring adherence to federal immigration regulations during these tumultuous times.

Deciphering the Ancillary Effects:

While jobs under the UAW labor contracts typically don’t involve visa sponsorship, the far-reaching implications of the strike bring forth compliance challenges for vendors and other affected employers. A significant modification in a foreign national’s employment terms can imperil the legitimacy of their legal status and work authorization, exposing the employer to possible immigration infringements.

The Ban on Forced Benching:

Rigorous federal immigration regulations stringently outlaw the compulsory sidelining of employees holding H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 work visas. Firms face repercussions for relegating H-1B workers to a non-productive, unpaid status, colloquially termed “on the bench.” This necessitates that organizations uphold regular salary disbursements or grapple with the potential cessation of H-1B employment agreements.

Navigating Wage Adjustments and Shift Alterations:

The law mandates that employers remunerate H-1B employees the greater of the actual or the prevailing wage, as stipulated by the Department of Labor (DOL). Any variance, particularly in the form of salary deductions or schedule modifications amounting to a pay reduction, places the employer in a delicate situation, necessitating compliance amendments and notifications to the DOL and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Addressing Varied Work Visas:

Diverse regulations are applicable to other employer-sponsored work visas like E-1, E-2, L-1, O-1, and TN. Employers have the discretion to incorporate holders of these visas in mitigation strategies, albeit the eligibility for unemployment benefits during furlough is subject to state laws and individual circumstances, adding a layer of complexity.

Navigating Prolonged Strike Implications:

In the scenario of an enduring strike, employers may be compelled to adopt more definitive measures such as extensive layoffs or workforce downsizing. These measures could potentially disrupt the path of foreign workers towards attaining permanent residency and might culminate in the loss of key resources vital for propelling the business forward.


The UAW strike has accentuated the challenges manufacturing and other employers face in adhering to immigration compliance. Striking a balance between loss mitigation strategies and federal guidelines necessitates meticulous consideration and adept navigation to circumvent potential infringements and retain invaluable foreign workers. In these uncertain times, staying informed and vigilant is paramount for employers aiming to safeguard their responsibilities and shield their workforce.

If you or your family members have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may affect you, or if you want to access additional information about immigration and nationality laws in the United States or Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can reach us by emailing or by calling us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. We also invite you to visit our website at for more information.