Some companies wish to hire international employees due to necessity, while others seek to improve or expand their company. No matter the reason, there are numerous benefits to utilizing an international workforce, and though the process of hiring foreign workers is not without its challenges, most employers find that it is well worth their time and effort to do so.
Below we’ve outlined four major benefits that hiring an international workforce, whether as permanent or temporary immigrants, can have for your company. We’ve also included information on the type of visa paths that can facilitate different types of employment. If you have any questions about your specific employment needs, we offer complimentary consultations – just complete the form here to get started.
1) Fill roles for which there are shortages of highly-skilled US workers. It is no secret that the United States has a major shortage of highly-skilled workers in many fields. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) industries can lack the necessary home-grown talent these businesses need to succeed. If you are having trouble finding qualified candidates in the US for the roles you need to fill in your company, there are well established avenues for hiring an internation workforce, including:
- The H-1B visa for highly skilled professional workers;
- The O-1 visa for workers with extraordinary ability;
- L-1 visas and B visas, for businesses with offices, partners, or subsidiaries outside of the United States;
- The Conrad Waiver for J-1 visa holders, used by healthcare institutions in medically underserved areas; and
- The EB and NIW petitions, which provide green cards for the best of the best in their field.
The most common visa path for highly skilled workers is the H-1B visa – provided to professional foreign workers with a college or advanced degree. While most H-1B visas are subject to the H-1B cap lottery, cap exempt H-1B visas are available to higher education institutions, non-profits related to higher education institutions, and non-profit research organizations.
Other visa options for highly skilled workers include the O-1 visa for workers with extraordinary ability. Individuals with extraordinary ability in a particular field, or in a field considered in the “National Interest” of the United States, can self-petition for a green card under the EB-1 visa or National Interest Wavier.
2) Language and foreign knowledge
If you want to conduct global business, you need employees who speak the language and know the markets. Your best option may be to hire someone from the market in which you want to conduct your business so that you know you are getting a person who will be able to communicate effectively and will understand the cultural intricacies and nuances that can make or break a business deals.
Companies with foreign offices can use the L-1A and L-1B visa categories to hire executives, managers and employees with specialized knowledge into U.S. offices. Employees can stay in the United States on the L-1A visa for up to seven years (with extensions), and can stay on the L-1B visa for up to five years (with extensions), and can be sponsored or seek permanent resident status during their visa stay.
For shorter term employment – such as bringing an employee to the United States for meetings or to receive or provide training, companies can utilize the B-1 visa. The employee must remain on a foreign payroll during their B-1 visa stay.
TN visas can be used by employers who are navigating the Treaty NAFTA process, and are typically used when H-1B visas are not available due to “cap out”. TN visas are available for professional employees in medical fields, science fields, teaching positions and other fields such as engineering, architecture and technology.
3) Creativity and perspectives
When you have a homogenous workforce of employees who all come from the same background, sometimes creativity within your company can become stifled. Hiring foreign employees brings people into your business who have different perspectives since they came from entirely different places. The blending of ideas and perspectives from various cultures is the best possible recipe for creativity and innovation that can take your company to new heights.
Employers who cater to diverse clientele find it particularly useful to hire with an eye to diversity. Higher education institutions and healthcare facilities can make use of cap-exempt H-1B visas. Hospitals in medically underserved areas can also take advantage of the Conrad Waiver to hire U.S. medical graduates to address healthcare delivery shortcomings.
4) Rich workplace culture
Not only does an international workforce lead to more creativity and productivity in the workplace, but it also helps to build a rich and more fulfilling workplace culture for all employees. The sharing of different global perspectives and ideas benefits both immigrant and non-immigrant employees alike and can lead to better employee morale as well as a positive reputation for your company’s culture, which in turn can lead to better talent coming to work for you.
If you have already identified a candidate who has the qualifications you need and who will benefit your workplace culture, don’t let a visa hurdle stand in your way. We have experience with businesses of all sizes and can help you understand your options during a complimentary consultation.