International hiring is a necessity for many companies, because they can’t find the talent they need in the U.S. However, recent immigration policy changes have sent businesses into a tailspin. Suddenly, they can’t access the talent they need which could seriously impact their growth, profitability and even survival.
These policy changes have brought almost all aspects of U.S. immigration to a standstill, including visa applications through embassies and consulates abroad and immigration benefit processing through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The interruption affects employment and family-based visas, even if the individual is a relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Clearly, this imposes significant barriers for those talented workers seeking legal immigration and for companies that rely on their talents.
What is the Impact on the Talent Pool?
According to 2019 data, migrants account for approximately 15.4% of the population in the U.S. Of those, 76.2% are between the ages of 20 and 64 years.
Reducing the talent pool by over fifteen percent is very troublesome, but that figure doesn’t provide the total picture. It has an even more significant effect on some sectors.
Drastic Effects on U.S. Business
A recent study by Envoy Global and The Harris Poll, and research coming out of Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania pinpoints the critical issues the new immigration policy creates for U.S. companies and possible solutions.
First, immigration restrictions reduce innovation in the U.S. As a result, companies are more likely to hire abroad, establish a foreign affiliate or strengthen their workforce if they have an existing affiliate.
Second, sectors such as research & development and tech are most likely to go this route as many of their services are easily offshored. However, many other industries are sure to follow suit when they can’t access the talent they need at home.
Let’s consider the impact on the tech industry as an example. Pew Research suggests the H-1B visa program is the primary vehicle used by companies in the United States to hire high-skilled foreign workers. Before restrictions, tech was already a very competitive industry. However, applications always exceeded the annual cap and limited talent flowed into the country.
The new immigration policy interrupted the H-1B visa program. Consequently, talent no longer flows into the country, widening the skills gap. The best talent is going elsewhere and many countries are making it much easier for them to obtain a visa and eventually residency.
For instance, Canada has relaxed their immigration policies for highly-skilled workers and the tech industry is booming. Their streamlined visa program has led to over 40,000 recruitments in the last two years alone.
The U.K has a special Tier 2 visa for those in IT and other occupations. If there’s an IT shortage, the company can hire and sponsor an employee, without advertising the position. Australia also fast tracks the visa process for eligible skilled occupations.
Well-educated, experienced workers will always choose a country that offers opportunities. For many, a visa is their path to residency and their chance to work in a high-profile company that could advance their career. Since the U.S. can’t entice them at the moment, business needs to find talent through alternative methods.
Businesses Need Help Now
U.N. data shows the pandemic has already severely impacted many sectors. The most drastic effects are felt in food and accommodation, retail and wholesale, business services and administration and manufacturing. However, all businesses have been touched by the disruption. Add immigration restrictions to the mix and it puts some businesses in a very difficult situation.
Wise business leaders know first-hand that their workers are essential to their survival and success. However, immigration isn’t possible now and it probably won’t be an attractive proposition for foreign candidates during the current administration, even if it does become possible later. U.S. policies have changed often and quickly in recent years. The “Buy American Hire American” executive order hardly instills confidence in a foreign candidate trying to establish a career in the U.S.
Clearly, companies should not rely on the H-1B visa program in their international hiring strategy anymore. It isn’t accessible now and is subject to change, so it may not provide the skilled talent business needs in the future.
Businesses have another option at their disposal that can provide the best possible talent within a candidate’s home country. These workers also bring much more to the table than practical talents.
Additional Benefits of Hiring Foreign Nationals
The Envoy Global study also revealed unexpected benefits of hiring talent in their own country. Approximately 94% of employers said they provide insights into business practices in foreign markets as they are already part of the culture. This is especially beneficial to companies looking to explore a new market and for businesses wanting to increase their foothold in a foreign territory.
If your business wants to explore alternatives, remote work is a viable option. The pandemic highlighted it is possible for a business to thrive, even when it relies on talent working outside of the office. This same principle applies to talent outside the U.S.
Remote work is hardly a new concept. It’s been around for decades and it is proven, reliable and cost-effective. The number of remote workers has already grown 400% since 2010 and companies can expect this trend to continue. This increases the chances of finding the ideal candidate within a larger talent pool.
Accessing Remote Workers
One solution for companies looking for a competitive international hiring advantage is an Employer of Record. They have access to skilled in-country talent in multiple regions to ensure your company finds the personnel it needs quickly and efficiently. Your company does not need to register an entity or establish a foreign branch to hire abroad when you use an Employer of Record.
The Employer of Record assumes compliance, tax and payroll burdens for all overseas employees as they are already registered in the country. The individual hired works for your business, and the EOR ensures they receive wages and benefits that meet compliance. Workers remain in their country and have a legal right to work.
It is usually a quick process from initial conversation to hiring and there’s no need to wait for visa approval either. Remote workers also offer insights into local, regional and cultural customs if you’re operating or looking to operate in a foreign region. They frequently have established personal and professional networks, making it easier to navigate the new market.
Your Global Talent Conduit
Offering EOR services, Blueback Global can act as your global talent conduit. We have a worldwide network of in-country experts to find the precise talent you need quickly.
You maintain control over business decisions and we handle the backend and become the employer for legal and tax purposes only. Our legal teams also ensure your business remains complaint in the U.S. and internationally and protects your intellectual property rights.
With access to workers around the world, there’s no need to worry about visa restrictions. Contact us for a free consultation and let us show you why an EOR is the best solution for a resilient international hiring strategy that will provide highly-skilled talent now, and in the future.