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Immigration has been a huge topic of interest for employers in recent years, as changes to policies have impacted things like the available workforce and the responsibilities of companies pertaining to hiring non-citizens.

Amid the flurry of changes to both legislation and general social attitudes pertaining to immigration, small-business owners may find themselves confused as to what their responsibilities are, as well as how these changes can benefit them. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to immigration and employment.

U.S. immigration is getting a serious overhaul
While immigration has been a political talking point for years now, the topic is poised to see some significant changes, particularly when it comes to employment-based immigration. Employers and legislators alike are coming to realize that the push toward greater globalization and broader diversity within companies is incompatible with the current immigration policy, which many consider to be outdated and overly restrictive.

"Our immigration system is complicated, inefficient and incompatible with the speed at which business moves and our ever-changing economy. We need to reform the employment-based immigration system so that it supports, not hinders, America's employers," said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration.

These changes have already begun at the federal level, with the Obama administration recently announcing that not only can immigrants who have been sponsored by employers seek a job, but so too can the spouses of such individuals.

A growth of available resources
Understandably, some smaller companies and entrepreneurs may be overwhelmed by the pace at which these changes to immigration policies and attitudes are happening. Fortunately, there are a number of emerging resources that can help guide the process.

One such example is a guide compiled by the CFGI and the Society for Human Resource Management. The 2015 guide is available for free online, and takes a multifaceted approach to the question of immigration. It outlines how the system currently works, but it also highlights ways in which the immigration outlook of the U.S. needs to change to accommodate changing business and market needs.

Small-business owners also have access to another invaluable resource in the form of PEO companies. These entities provide useful HR solutions, on topics ranging from payroll and taxes to health care benefits. Even microbusinesses that may not have  the financial resources to employ full-time, in-house HR services can benefit from these HR outsourcing firms.