It's important to remind yourself and your team that even though these times are uncertain, it won't be long before we'll find ourselves operating at full steam, strategizing to move faster and to stay competitive. Since hiring and retaining the best talent is important to your company's competitiveness, maintaining a quality immigration program even in uncertain times would mean that you'd be ahead of the curve when we do manage to flatten the pandemic curve (no pun intended).
For the uninitiated
A study in late 2017 conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy revealed that well over half of graduate-level STEM students (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) were international students. These graduates focus on finding jobs in the US tech sector, further concentrating foreign national talent in this area. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that job applicants for technical roles will be candidates requiring immigration sponsorship.
By fully understanding the dollar costs of immigration and developing a solid process for reporting, you and your management team can grow their immigration program more efficiently. Further, being proactive and leveraging available immigration data can help you take control of your organization’s immigration budget.
Here are some suggestions that might help you plan and execute better in the immigration space.
Become familiar with immigration
Focus internally on your immigration program. Build an immigration policy that serves your organizations talent strategy. Ensure that recruiters and managers become familiar with immigration basics and can speak with some basic level of understanding and compassion to foreign national job applicants and employees.
Just-In-Time approach isn't the best choice
Many employers take a more reactive approach to immigration, thereby failing to dedicate resources beyond executives. Not having clear workflows for assessing and compiling cases is a surefire way to struggle with onboarding and retaining talent and to fail to provide a positive candidate experience. The more proactive you are in detailing an immigration path for the foreign born talent, the better your chances are to attract and retain top talent in your company.
As your immigration program grows, so do the costs associated with it. In addition to government application and processing fees, employers also need to consider the fee they will be charged by their law firm. Companies usually misconstrue more expensive services with the best ones. While the more complex immigration cases do require a lot more preparation (and perhaps hourly billing), employers should work towards setting up 'flat fee' terms with their partner law firms.
Forecasting & Reporting ~ panacea for strong & on budget immigration program
Employers' extent of future planning is usually stymied either by lack of focus internally or by limited access to reporting data through their partner law firms. Team members either don't know where to find the data/tools or how to make use of them to accurately understand the impact of their decisions.
Employers also tend to consider costs and budget in context of acquiring talent but may not consider the cost of retention. An average foreign national employee might go through two or three visa cycles and potentially a green card during their tenure with an employer. All of these milestones have costs associated with them and the forecasting and budgeting should account for every stage.
Competitive Edge to attract best talent
Finally, if you're seeking an edge in recruiting and retaining top talent, your company's immigration program is your biggest ally. Utilizing an immigration management platform is an easy way to understand costs before making hiring decisions, current and future immigration spends, trends of previous years and forecasts for what the future necessitates.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.