The answer to whether you should sponsor H-1B visas depends on your business. Not every company needs H-1B-sponsored employees and not all foreign candidates qualify. It is important that employers examine both their workforce needs and their plans for growth before starting the H-1B visa process.
However, many companies have used the H-1B visa process to their advantage in a wide variety of ways. Consultants at The Goodkind Group are quite knowledgeable about the advantages and disadvantages of non-immigrant worker programs. Here is The Goodkind Group’s quick guide to how the process works and whether or not your company should consider sponsoring H-1B visa applicants.
How Do H-1B Visas Work?
Non-immigrants looking to work for employers in the United States may do so as long as that employer is willing to sponsor the foreign employee. Even though there is a bit of red tape to work through, H-1B visas are quite common and can deliver a great deal of value to the company sponsoring foreign employees.
Employers begin the process by completing the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An important distinction should be made here: The H-1B visa and I-129 petition are solely for foreigners coming to the United States to work. US companies hiring employees overseas are not required to sponsor employee visas.
The I-129 petition process can move as quickly as a couple of weeks or as long as a few months. Often, employers sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa seek assistance from their business attorney to expedite the process.
H-1B visas are good for three years and are easy to extend an additional three years. Some employees take advantage of the H-1B visa to begin the “green card” process if they desire to become a permanent citizen (immigrant). For a more in-depth guide to the I-129 process, consult the Society for Human Resource Management page here.
Who is Eligible for an H-1B Visa?
Not everyone can qualify for an H-1B visa, and experts at The Goodkind Group are available to help you understand eligibility requirements. First, there is a cap on the number of visas granted each year, and sometimes the H1-B visa cap is met quickly, creating a waiting period for pending applicants. Second, your company must be able to demonstrate that the employee you are sponsoring meets certain criteria. Here is a list of criteria:
- The position for which you are hiring a foreigner is a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is simply one that demands unique skills and knowledge.
- The individual you are hiring has at least a bachelor’s degree.
- You cannot find a domestic candidate with the right specialized skills within your area.
- You can demonstrate your intent and ability to pay the foreign employee a comparable wage commensurate with their skill level and in accordance with employment regulations set forth by the state and federal government.
Benefits of Sponsoring H-1B Visas at Your Company
Remaining competitive in many industries means having the right talent. Many companies that make use of qualified foreign workers are often able to accomplish more on a faster timeline.
1. Acquiring Special Talent Not Available Locally
As noted above, there are many in-demand skills that are rare to find. However, they may be in great supply in other parts of the world. As such, employers that seek foreign talent are looking to resolve talent shortages in the United States. Advisors at The Goodkind Group are frequently helping employers find just the right talent, even if that talent is only available outside the United States.
2. Greater Employee Diversity Often Means Greater Innovation
Business and organizational development experts have found time and again that a more diverse workforce means better problem-solving. By bringing in new talent from a different part of the world, employers can broaden the perspectives of their work teams. While this can pose capability issues at first, many progressive company cultures are able to invite this diversity and curate a more powerful, innovative environment. Sponsoring uniquely-qualified foreign employees through the H-1B visa process is a great way to improve workforce diversity and increase company profits.
3. Hiring Immigrant Can Preclude Global Expansion
If your company is thinking of expanding into other parts of the world, you might want to start hiring foreigners from those countries. Many employers sponsor these employees with the intent of one day setting up new headquarters or branches in their home countries Not only does that employee get to come to the United States and work on a temporary visa, but they may also become a critical liaison with leaders at the new overseas branch.
There are strong benefits of sponsoring H-1B visas applicants, but the process can be overwhelming for employers inexperienced with the visa sponsoring process. For more information about how The Goodkind Group can help your company sponsor foreign employees with H-1B visas, contact a consultant today at (212) 378-0700 or visit our website.