Many HR departments can do a better job of protecting their companies from significant penalties and other risks by understanding and avoiding export-control violations. Of course, HR professionals have plenty to think about during the hiring process— is the candidate qualified for the position; is he or she a good fit with the company; and what about salary and benefit requirements? HR professionals must also consider immigration and work visa issues when hiring a new employee. In fact, HR professionals are seeing the number of foreign-born applicants steadily increase, especially in the science, technical, and complex manufacturing sectors, as more foreign-born candidates are trained in the United States and abroad, including India, China, and other Asian countries.
For a company that develops or produces products, technology, software, or services controlled for export (and many companies do), employing foreign persons can create export-licensing and other regulatory concerns. Frankly, too few HR professionals are aware of export-licensing issues. Other laws, of which HR professionals are well aware, prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of citizenship and national origin. The intersection of these rules – the export-control regulations that prohibit the unauthorized release of controlled technology to foreign persons, and the employment laws that dictate nondiscrimination in hiring – is an area that all HR professionals should be prepared to negotiate with great care.