Companies’ need for foreign workers shows no sign of abatement despite downward pressure from the Trump administration on immigration.
A new report from Envoy Global notes that 95 percent of employers say sourcing foreign talent is extremely, very, or somewhat important to their talent acquisition strategy, and 80 percent expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2019—this despite the fact that the current administration is making it more and more difficult for immigrants to stay and work in the United States, and for companies to keep them on the payroll.
Despite all the buzz around immigration purportedly robbing Americans of their rightful employment, the report notes that in 2018, the United States had the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 7.3 million unfilled jobs. In addition, there was an acute shortage of talent in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, a primary reason why corporations look beyond U.S. borders to fill gaps.
Below are a few key details from the report, and a look at the trend toward employers seeking practical solutions and alternatives.
Employer Pain Points
Employers cited their “biggest pain points” with respect to immigration as including:
- Uncertainty of outcome (39 percent)
- Inefficiency (spending too much time and budget) (36 percent)
- Determining which if any visa an applicant qualifies for (28 percent)
- Gathering foreign national information and documents (28 percent)
- Foreign national anxiety (27 percent)
- Fear of missing a deadline (26 percent)
A Trend Toward Solutions
Many employers are encouraging government policy changes that can simplify and expedite the U.S. immigration system, according to the report. Employers also say they are seeking a better way to manage their internal immigration processes, sponsoring green card applications early, and focusing on immigration data security, among other things.
Toward the latter point, a critical aspect of how companies deal with their immigration caseloads increasingly is technology, which can help keep HR professionals and corporate executives on top of visa requirements and deadlines, status changes, and other developments. For example, WRapid, a leading advanced immigration management system developed by Wolfsdorf & Rosenthal LLP for its clients, includes integration with most human resources software applications. The customization software includes progress indicators that guide users through electronic questionnaires; a secure document upload feature that delivers documents directly to WRapid’s legal professionals; a case summary tool that keeps all informed about case status, visa expiration dates, and receipt of government notices; a user interface that transfers information from one case to the next to expedite the immigration process; corporate reports that allow human resources professionals to view active cases at a glance; a cloud-based portal; the ability for clients to monitor the progress of their case; and advanced security features.
Increasingly, although employers hope for simpler days ahead, they are focused in the near term on finding and implementing their own practical solutions to manage their exposure to risk and maximize their access to top talent.