We're currently hiring for a software engineer position and I've been charged with advancing candidates to the in-person interview stage. We've gotten a number of applications from people who have strong development backgrounds but are recent immigrants from India and China and are very clearly English-as-a-Second-Language speakers, ESL.
We're a really small company and our successful candidate would be the lone developer. In addition to programming, they'll also have to occasionally write content as well as make themselves clearly understood to non-tech people.
As such, I'm leaning towards disqualifying anyone whose English comes across as not being totally fluent. Just a note, I'd disqualify native speakers who wrote poorly as well, but for some reason the fact that most of the applications that would be disqualified on these grounds are non-native speakers feels a little wrong to me.
I'd love for someone to weigh in on the legality of disqualifying obviously ESL applicants.