Urban Myths of Immigration: It’s Not Worth the Effort

HIGHLIGHTS

Over the years, I’ve often been asked to help organizations with their recruitment challenges. Almost always, these challenges center on hiring qualified, skilled workers, such as engineers and IT professionals. The first question I ask is: “Do you hire candidates who need H-1B visa sponsorship?”

The answer is always the same. “No, it’s just too much hassle!”

That’s code for two things:

    1. We don’t get how to do this, but it still seems complicated.
    2. The amount of resources it will take to hire a candidate needing H-1B visa sponsorship isn’t worth the return on our investment.

What I usually find is whichever excuse they choose, most have never gone through and analyzed what it really takes to sponsor an H-1B worker, versus what they will receive in return.

In my last post, Urban Myths of Immigration: It’s Expensive, I broke down the actual costs of sponsoring an H-1B candidate. No doubt it’s not free, but it also isn’t really that expensive when you compare it to other recruitment costs of attracting and landing a non-sponsored candidate.

“Worth the effort,” though, is different than just looking at the cost. Now you need to bring in relative worth and ROI. The question gets broken down to why is hiring an H-1B candidate more worth the effort when compared to hiring a non-sponsored candidate?

First, they’re assuming they can actually find a non-sponsored candidate for the U.S. based job. This is really the underlying problem. Since we lack available, qualified talent in the United States, many organizations did the math — the ROI of H-1B candidates far surpasses the ROI of hiring a non-sponsored candidate. Why? The main cause is that salary expectations of non-sponsored candidates have gone way above market norms because of the lack of talent.

Second, H-1B candidates generate many advantages for U.S. employers. For example, they bring a global perspective to your workforce that most U.S.-based employers lack, which is especially critical to most technology-driven organization. Additionally, they are more likely to be recruited from foreign countries where the work ethic within their culture is very high. This doesn’t speak to the specific individual, but with global recruiting you’re fishing in pools known to have high-quality fish!

Finally, I like to look at the underlying motivation of many H-1B workers. In my career, almost all the H-1B workers I’ve come into contact with had a desire to become a U.S. citizen down the road, which meant finding an employer who would sponsor them through the green card process. Don’t discount this motivation, as the worker will show high loyalty and high performance for an extended period of time.

I’ve found that when the market I need to hire in doesn’t have qualified U.S. citizens available, hiring H-1B workers far outweighed any effort we had to put in on our end as an organization. The ROI on hiring H-1B workers continues to be high, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Read more about how visa and green card holders are demonstrating their value at U.S. organizations in VISANOW’s report, Global Talent Perspectives 2016.


Tim Sackett

Tim Sackett is the president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and IT supplemental staffing firm that works with leading organizations. Tim advocates for transparent communication and is passionate about workplace culture and organizational values.