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IMMIGRATION TRENDS

Foreign talent is now top of mind for C-level executives and boards.

This year’s Immigration Trends Report comes at just the right time—while companies are feeling the pressure and the press reports abound, data and facts are hard to come by. This valuable report shines a spotlight on the challenges HR leaders face and how immigration frictions impact their companies… – William Kerr, Harvard Business School

In the same year that saw the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 7.3 million unfilled jobs. Meanwhile, only 6.3 million people were actively looking for work at the end of 2018. Compounding the record-low unemployment was an acute shortage in STEM talent, prompting organizations to look beyond borders to fill talent gaps.

Despite increased government scrutiny, companies continue to hire foreign talent as a competitive advantage to their organization

2018 saw dozens of policy memos, numerous proposals to change employment-based immigration programs like the H-1B lottery and a RFE rate of 60% during Q4. Despite these challenges, employers still expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2019, and sourcing foreign talent remains important to their talent acquisition strategy. Access more insights about the current demand for foreign talent in the full report.

80%
of employers expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2019

95% of employers said sourcing foreign talent is extremely, very or somewhat important to their talent acquisition strategy

47% of employers said the visa application process has become more difficult, while 18% said it has become less difficult—which constitutes the widest gap between the two responses in the last three years

52% of employers said RFE rates at their organization have increased over the last five years

INCREASED

  52%

DECREASED

13%

Employers are focused on government policy changes which can simplify and expedite the immigration system

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. Current government policies impact hiring and retention strategies, and employers said they’ve had to increase staff to compensate for the challenges of the current system. Download the full report for information on current government policies.

Only 12% of respondents said the current U.S. immigration system did not impact their organization’s hiring and retention strategies

Q: How does the current U.S. immigration system impact your company’s hiring and retention strategies?

0%
Not Sure
0%
It doesn't impact our company's hiring and retention strategies
0%
We've had to increase our budget to address challenges of the immigration system
0%
We are hiring fewer foreign nationals
0%
Delays projects
0%
We've had to increase staff to address challenges of the immigration system

WITH IMMIGRATION A C-LEVEL PRIORITY, EMPLOYERS ARE SEEKING A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE THEIR INTERNAL IMMIGRATION PROCESS

While companies can’t control government policy and other macro forces (such as the skills gap), they can reevaluate their own immigration programs to take as much control of the process as possible. More insights on how the current immigration system is impacting organizations across the country can be found in the full report.

Almost half of respondents said they have chosen to evaluate their immigration programs because they have become aware of new and better ways of managing the process

Q: When you evaluate your immigration program, what is the reason for doing so?

The leading pain points in the immigration process are uncertainty of outcome (39%) and inefficiencies, resulting in spending too much time or budget (36%)

Q: What is your biggest pain point surrounding the U.S. immigration application process?

0%
Uncertainty of outcome
0%
Inefficiency in the process (i.e., spending too much time and budget)
0%
Determining which if any visa the applicant qualifies for
0%
Gathering foreign national information and documents
0%
Foreign national anxiety
0%
Fear of missing a deadline

RAPID GREEN CARD SPONSORSHIP CONTINUES TO BE A CRITICAL ASPECT OF A COMPETITIVE RECRUITING STRATEGY

Providing foreign talent with a clear, immediate path to permanent residence can ease foreign national uncertainty and give sponsoring employers a competitive edge with their talent acquisition strategy. Two-thirds of employers offer green card sponsorship, and 66% of these companies start the green card process within the first year of service. Click here to read the full chapter on green card sponsorship.

Of the companies that sponsor, 66% start the green card process within the first year of service

Companies are targeting Canada as a future talent hub based, in part, on its immigration policies

Canada has been using friendly immigration policies as one of its key tools to aggressively attract tech companies. In 2017, Toronto created more tech jobs than the Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined. Survey responses reflected these statistics, as 65% of employers said they view Canada’s immigration policy to be more favorable than U.S. policy. Download our 2019 report to see the percentage of companies that are thinking about or have already expanded their offices to Canada.

65% of employers consider Canada’s
immigration policy to be more favorable than U.S. policy

Q: Do you consider Canada’s immigration policy to be more favorable to
employers than U.S. policies?

DATA SECURITY IS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR COMPANIES AND THEY ARE MAKING INVESTMENTS TO REDUCE VULNERABILITIES

Given continued news on data breaches and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, ensuring immigration data is secure should be a key priority for organizations. Yet, few companies (13%) say they are requiring increased data security from their immigration vendors. Download the report to see how employers are ensuring adequate data security measures are in place at their organization.

Q: How is your immigration and mobility organization preparing for heightened data security here in the U.S. and around the world?

13%
We will require our immigration partners to increase their security and become compliant with local laws like GDPR
33%
We are requesting our immigration partners to increase their security and become compliant with local laws like GDPR
49%
We are making investments to increase our data security

ABOUT THE REPORT

The purpose of the 2019 Immigration Trends Report is to provide HR managers, talent acquisition teams, CHROs and CEOs with information and resources to help them benchmark their immigration programs and improve internal processes. In doing so, we hope to empower them to develop, implement and scale a global mobility program that will attract and top tier talent.


ABOUT THE SURVEY

The national survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll from Nov. 27 to Dec. 17, 2018, with 405 HR professionals and hiring managers participating across a variety of industries and company sizes. Each respondent is a U.S. Resident, 21+ in age and involved in hiring decisions at their company. Their companies have experience in either the visa or green card application process and they are familiar with sourcing foreign nationals for employment. Questions covered internal and external global immigration processes and challenges.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT



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