Each year, the ManpowerGroup conducts a global survey of employers regarding talent shortages. In their report for 2016-2017, 40% of employers worldwide reported a talent shortage of some sort. Among the occupations with the highest talent shortage are skilled trades, IT staff, sales executives, engineers, and technicians. When companies have a hard time finding qualified, local employees for their open positions, they often turn to overseas workers through employer sponsored work visas. With global migration on the rise, employers the world over are looking for global immigration solutions to help them secure the right talent for their businesses.
How to Get a Sponsored Visa for an Employee
Most countries have employer sponsored work visas for short-term stays of foreign nationals. These visa systems usually have a few requirements in common. For example, the H-1B visa, a short-term worker visa for the United States, requires an employer to:
- Sponsor the employee with a job offer
- Prove the ability to support the worker for the whole stay
- Offer the prevailing wages and benefits
- Prove the employee will not negatively affect the working conditions of other employees
- Show there is no active labor dispute or work stoppage at the time hiring
Such a visa is only available for employees with specialized skills, usually with (at least) a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent work experience.
Countries such as the United States also have limits on the number of visas they distribute each year. United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues annually only 65,000 regular H-1B visas and 20,000 visas for those who hold master’s degrees. Because applications for these visas far outstrip the numbers available, USCIS distributes them by lottery. For fiscal year 2019, the USCIS received over 190,000 petitions.
Pros of Visa Sponsorships for Foreign Employees
The primary reason to use an employer sponsored visa is to bring workers who have special skills to a specific country. These skills include:
- Technical abilities
- Specialized education
- Specialized work experience
It also allows an employer with a global business to attract employees who have experience with overseas markets. The tech industry relies heavily on H-1B visas, with a majority of the visas issued going to computer-centric businesses — with businesses like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft relying on these visas to fill the skills gap for local talent.
Nonprofits and institutions of higher education are exempt from caps on the number of visas issued each year. These institutions don’t have to worry about whether their candidates will receive a visa in the annual lottery, making it a surer way to bring overseas workers to the United States.
Challenges Associated with Employer Sponsored Visas
For visa programs with limits on the number of visas issued each year (such as in the H-1B visa program), visas are issued through a lottery. No matter how qualified an employee, they may or may not receive a visa based only on the luck of the draw.
The visa process also presents challenges for startups, as these companies typically have more tenuous finances than established businesses and have not yet had the chance to firmly establish themselves within their respective markets. Since a company must prove the ability to support an employee for the length of their stay, it can be difficult to qualify for an employee sponsorship visa. Moreover, the global political environment puts employee sponsorship visas in question; rising anti-immigration and nationalist movements are gaining political power throughout the United States and other Western nations.
How International PEO Can Help
Many countries have different visa processes for intra-company transfers, including the United States’ L series of visas for intra-company transfers which does not have a cap like temporary visas. An international PEO can help your organization quickly enter a new country and find qualified workers, making a transfer to the United States a simpler option for hiring an overseas worker. Get in touch with Velocity Global today to learn how we can assist with your employee visa needs.