Employers still eyeing foreign talent despite visa restrictions
- Eighty percent of employers expect to increase or maintain their foreign national hiring numbers in 2019, despite low unemployment and government restrictions on H-1B visas, according to Envoy's 2019 Immigration Trends Report. Moreover, 95% of survey respondents said they view sourcing immigrant workers as "extremely," "very" or "somewhat" important to their talent acquisition efforts.
- But the process isn't without its challenges. Nearly half of employers said the visa application process has become more difficult, and even more agreed that requests for evidence (RFEs) have increased in the past five years.
- "The deficit of highly skilled workers is expected to exceed 6.5 million people by 2030, so employers are focused on approaches for streamlining and accelerating the immigration process to acquire foreign talent," Envoy said in releasing its report.
Employers say they're grappling with a shortage of skilled workers — a problem that often has them turning to foreign nationals. But the H-1B process through which so many are hired has shifted in recent months. The recent switch to a lottery system along with the increase in visa denials and RFEs has complicated the process for some. The government also will soon require that employers pre-register for the process.
But according to Envoy, employers generally remain undeterred, committed to staffing up despite the complexities and disappointments of the H-1B visa process. That tracks with the national trend: Hiring intentions among U.S. employers were at a 12-year high going into 2019, according to a ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.
Some employee visa holders, however, are fed up and say the uncertainties outweigh the benefits of working in the United States.