Envoy Global, a leading immigration services provider, is excited to announce the release of its 2022 Immigration Trends Report.
We surveyed over 300 human resources (HR) professionals nationwide to learn more about their thoughts on employment-based immigration, the successes and challenges they've encountered in attracting and retaining foreign talent and how they view the U.S. immigration system.
Here are six key takeaways from our 6th annual Immigration Trends Report.
Employer Demand for Foreign Talent Remains High
The need for foreign talent remains high. As our 2022 Immigration Trends Report shows, 82% of employers expect their foreign national headcount to increase or stay the same in the next year. Diving in a bit deeper, we found that 50% of respondents expect their foreign national headcount to increase.
One historically reliable talent pool for U.S. employers has been international students. This year's report supports this claim as respondents ranked U.S. universities and graduate schools as their organization's two most important recruiting sources.
However, recent data from the State Department shows that enrollment levels at these institutions continue to drop. About 644,000 F-1 student visas were issued in 2015, compared to about 358,000 in 2021.
Green Card Sponsorship is Stabilizing
Green card sponsorship is stabilizing after pandemic-related border closures caused variability over the previous two years. This is good news for employers, as green cards are essential for helping employers retain foreign talent.
Our 2022 Immigration Trends Report also found that employers are returning to green card policies designed to retain foreign talent. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they started the green card process earlier in 2022 than they did in 2021, and 16% reported sponsoring more green cards.
About 15% of employers also said that they just started sponsoring green cards in the past year. Of the smaller number of respondents who said they were not sponsoring as many green cards this year (4%), slow-moving government processes, cutbacks and COVID-19 restrictions were their main reasons why.
Lack of Immigration System Reform
The majority of 2022 Trends Report respondents (70%) approve of the way the current administration is handling employment-based immigration. However, they are less satisfied with the actions of specific immigration-focused government entities, notably U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Most respondents (95%) said that they wanted to see faster processing times from USCIS. The second most important item for the government to change, respondents said, was to make the application process more transparent.
While USCIS has made efforts in the past few years to digitize more of its processes and move away from paper-based applications, respondents feel that the agency can do more to digitize its immigration processes. As the National Immigration Forum's "Room to Grow" report states, employers will face challenges due to a lack of governmental action.
Challenges within the U.S. immigration system have led to 23% of respondents saying they have outsourced work to third parties.
Remote and Hybrid Work are Here to Stay
While the transition to a remote or hybrid work structure has been good news for employees, it has also created some compliance and communication challenges for employers.
Among respondents who said they faced more compliance and communication obstacles with remote work, 40% of them included "dealing with a more complex Labor Condition Application (LCA)/prevailing wage process for distributed employees" in their top three challenges.
Other immigration program challenges that have been exacerbated by remote work include:
- Document collection
- Collaboration between attorneys, foreign nationals and HR team
Since remote work allows employees to work from almost anywhere, a quarter of respondents surveyed said that they are hiring fewer foreign national employees. However, even more said that they were hiring more foreign talent because of their remote work capabilities.
Other respondents said that their remote work policy had no effect on where they sourced talent from.
Outbound Immigration is Increasing
An overwhelming number of employers surveyed (75%) expect their outbound immigration assignments to increase or return to pre-pandemic travel levels in 2022.
Employers are eyeing Canada, Mexico and the U.K. as viable options for their employees. Outbound immigration is also a more realistic option for employers so far this year due to easing travel restrictions and regulations. Eighty-two percent of respondents have resumed global travel in the past year.
Respondents said that their main reasons for sending talent overseas were to place high-skilled talent unable to secure U.S. work authorization and to expand into new locations.
The annual Immigration Trends report allows HR teams to benchmark and strengthen their immigration and mobility strategies. To read the full report, click the link below.
Originally published 24 May 2022
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