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The H-1B is a visa program that allows U.S. companies to hire highly educated international professionals for “specialty occupations.” In June, the current administration suspended the H-1B visa program until at least the end of 2020. This action intends to encourage U.S. companies to hire locally to fill positions that are usually occupied by international employees that come through the visa program.
However, the reality is that there aren’t enough skilled professionals in the country to satisfy the demand. If your company was planning to onboard employees under H-1B, you might be concerned about recent changes and what they mean for the future of your business.
Who Will Be Most Affected by the Program Change?
Tech companies are the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa program. According to the American Immigration Council, computer systems analysts, software developers and computer programmers make up 52% of all occupations for H-1B visas. These numbers point to a real dependency on this program to fulfill critical positions within the tech industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects the tech industry to grow 12% from 2014-2024 and add 488,500 new jobs.
Is This Just a Temporary Halt Expected to Resolve Soon?
While the current administration claims the halt is a temporary effort designed to boost the U.S. economy, the program had shown a steady decline in applications and approvals in recent years, as the government started denying and delaying more applications. Denials in applications for initial employment rose from six percent in 2015 to 21 percent in 2019. Even when the H-1B visa program is reinstated, there is a still a valid concern about how difficult it may be to gain approval for your chosen candidate.
Are the Labor and Expenses Worth it Long-Term?
Even if the program is reinstated soon, the current administration has plans to increase the H-1B visa application fee. In addition to the cost of applications, this process is anything but simple, and it requires a great deal of time spent on proceedings that are not guaranteed to be successful.
So, What’s Next for Your Company?
When the H-1B visa program is reinstated, should your company stay dependent on changing government regulations for your international hiring strategy? This situation presents an opportunity to look towards the future of global hiring. And there is good news: you can continue to onboard highly skilled international professionals, faster and more affordably.
How You Can Continue to Hire the Best Global Talent
The Employer of Record (EOR) model allows your company to hire professionals from all around the world in their home countries. You can do this without the need to set up a legal entity or apply for an H-1B visa.
You may think that not being able to physically bring employees to the U.S. might affect your opportunities to attract the best international talent. The reality is that with an EOR, you can continue to onboard the best talent and enjoy a number of other benefits as well.
Deepen the Talent Pool and Save on Costs
There are several international markets where family dynamics play an integral role in the happiness and performance of professionals. Through an EOR, you can allow employees to stay in their home countries with their families. You might even raise more interest among local professionals who are not willing to relocate.
As mentioned before, the H-1B visa program application fees and labor could come at a high cost for your business. All of this happens without a guaranteed chance for success. An EOR can help you onboard a new hire in a matter of days, or even hours. No need for application fees or immigration experts. It’s a sure thing.
If your employees can remain in their home countries, their salaries won’t have to match the U.S. market. This factor could save your company a significant sum, allowing you to invest more back into your business.
Manage Risk and Lay the Foundation for the Future
Through an EOR, you can offer competitive local benefits packages to your international employees, allowing you to attract, hire, and retain highly skilled talent. You don’t have to pay them as a contractor and introduce more risk to your business – they are a full-time employee with all the benefits as such.
Also, having professionals in international markets will give you a competitive edge if you ever decide to expand your operations globally in-region.
Finally, if you want to wait for the H-1B visa program to resume, you can always maintain the possibility of bringing them to the U.S. in the future. The Employer of Record model can provide freedom from a dependency on ever-changing immigration laws that stall or halt your international hiring plans.
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