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US companies say they need more foreign workers, not less

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Seven in 10 employers say that having a global workforce is very, or extremely important to their talent strategy: survey.

While the Trump administration is bent on tightening H-1B visa rules, a report claims that US companies continue to need talented foreign workers to remain competitive globally.

The Third Annual Immigration Trends Report, published by immigration service provider Envoy, states that foreign talent is critical to the success of American companies.

The report is based on a national survey conducted online by The Harris Poll from Nov. 13 to Dec. 13, 2017, with 401 HR professionals and hiring managers participating across a variety of industries and company sizes.

The administration has announced a series of moves to cut down the number of foreign employees in the country. However, the companies surveyed by Envoy noted that they need the service of more foreign nationals in 2018.

While 53 percent of employers expect their company’s foreign national headcount to increase in 2018, 59 percent of employers expect their demand for work authorization globally (outside the United States) to increase.

Seven in 10 employers say that having a global workforce is very, or extremely important to their talent strategy (up from 63 percent last year). They cite several reasons why a global workforce is very or extremely important.

According to the companies, foreign employees bring valuable new perspectives, fill skills gaps, and have knowledge of industries or business practices outside the United States. These factors give them a competitive advantage over companies in other nations.

The immigration policy of the United States has undergone a drastic change under Trump administration. Many of the companies had to change their hiring and retention strategies as a result of the policy changes.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • As many as 85 percent of employers say the current US immigration system has impacted their hiring and retention strategies.
  • Companies had to increase their staff, delay some projects and relocate work overseas to adjust to the new scenario.
  • 98 percent of employers changed their green card policy over the past year and 31 percent say they are sponsoring green cards faster.

Since visa applications are becoming increasingly difficult, foreign national workers are more anxious about their future.

Companies are also facing difficulties in helping their employees secure work authorization. The study found that 81 percent of employers are experiencing challenges securing work authorization for their employees globally (up from 66 percent last year).

Human resources professionals are relying more on technology to automate processes and digitize paperwork whenever possible to facilitate compliance and ease uncertainty for foreign nationals.

“The nuances of global work authorization remain in flux as policies rapidly change,” said Envoy CEO Richard Burke in a statement. “Our survey shows that, while demand for foreign nationals in the workplace is higher than ever, navigating the challenging political climate remains a hindrance and a source of anxiety for employers and employees alike.

“In the same vein, relying on outdated methods and in-house procedures is no longer sufficient. Companies must modernize global work authorization processes to remain in compliance,” he added.

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