Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global
MUMBAI: US employers continue to leverage green card sponsorship as an acquisition and retention tool. Nearly 74% of respondents covered in Envoy’s ‘Immigration Trends Report – 2021’, said that their organisation had sponsored a foreign national for a green card. This was up from 71% in 2021 and the largest number reported in any previous year.
Faced with large backlogs for approval, particularly for applicants from India and China, 58% of employers surveyed also stated that they initiate the green card process before an employee’s first anniversary.
Over 500 human resource professionals and hiring managers in the US participated in this survey carried out by Envoy, a global immigration services provider. These responses have helped showcase the immigration trends, in the backdrop of increased immigration scrutiny and economic uncertainty created by the pandemic.
According to Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global, “Despite a spike in general US unemployment, employers in our survey clearly stated that they still required high-skilled foreign talent to fill key roles at their organisations, particularly as sudden remote work conditions accelerated the need for technological innovation and digitisation.”
“In a year of border closures and limited consular operations, US universities and graduate schools served as an even more important recruiting source for this type of talent and will likely continue to play a role in talent acquisition,” he stated.
Visa sponsorship remains an important talent acquisition strategy for employers despite travel restrictions and an economic slowdown in 2020. As per the survey, 82% of respondents said that they expected their foreign national headcount to at least remain the same over the next year, and 59% expected it to increase. In addition, 41% said the widespread adoption of remote work will result in more foreign national sponsorship, largely due to what they said was a still constrained supply of talent.
Immigration policies remained a point of contention for employers: 54% of respondents said that the lack of visa availability became more challenging under the previous Trump administration and 52% pointed to increased costs.
Moving forward, employers cite quicker processing times and increasing the number of green cards and visa options available for employment-based immigration as the most important reforms they would like addressed. However, support for changing or eliminating per-country green card caps was mixed, with 48% of employers covered by the survey saying it would make hiring and retention easier, and 32% who said the opposite.
“Unfortunately, the current US immigration system continues to provide far too few pathways to employment for foreign graduates, despite an apparent rise in demand for visas such as the H-1B. As travel restrictions ease and the vaccines become more widely available, employers expect the need for global assignments to fully rebound in the next year, particularly as a means of placing talent unable to secure US work authorization in the current system. Without reform, the US stands to lose both employers and talent to countries with more favourable policies, such as Canada,” summed up Burke.