Only half of San Francisco employers say sourcing foreign national employees is important to their talent acquisition strategy, compared to 70 percent of companies nationally.

CHICAGO – April 3, 2018 – Despite a historical reliance on highly skilled foreign-born talent, many San Francisco employers say they do not consider sourcing foreign national workers as a top talent acquisition priority. That surprising finding is according to a new study from Envoy Global, the technology leader in global immigration and workforce mobility.

The San Francisco Insights on Immigration Report, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Envoy, aggregated the responses of 171 San Francisco-based HR professionals and hiring managers regarding global hiring practices.

“We, along with our San Francisco-based clients, were surprised by the data, considering the importance these companies place on hiring the best and brightest from around the world. We reconciled the data with the fact that immigration has been a business norm for San Francisco employers for decades while the rest of the country is starting to prioritize foreign talent acquisition,” stated Envoy CEO Richard Burke. “A few of our customers in the Bay Area have also pointed to new talent strategies like ‘upskilling’ and remote work as additional causes behind the data.”

Key findings from the report include:

With the abundance of foreign nationals in San Francisco, local companies view hiring foreign talent  as a business norm.

  • Only 8 percent of San Francisco tech companies say they proactively seek out foreign national employees, while 24 percent of national tech companies do.
  • 54 percent of San Francisco tech companies say sourcing foreign national employees is not very important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy while only 18 percent of national tech companies say the same.

The H-1B application process is difficult to manage, which may be impacting San Francisco employers’ decisions to source foreign talent.

  • 68 percent of employers in San Francisco say the H-1B process has become more difficult, compared to 55 percent of employers nationwide.
  • 46 percent of San Francisco employers report challenges in global immigration compared to 44 percent nationwide.
    • Among San Francisco employers’ biggest challenges:
      • 30 percent say differing regulations.
      • 30 percent say keeping accurate records.
  • In response to changes in immigration regulations, 33 percent of San Francisco employers say they are hiring fewer foreign nationals compared to 26 percent of employers nationwide.

In today’s uncertain immigration environment, green card sponsorship is an important benefit, but San Francisco employers are not as proactive about sponsoring green cards as the rest of the country.

  • San Francisco employers are more likely to sponsor green cards than employers nationally (77 percent versus 70 percent), but they do so less quickly.
    • A little more than half (52 percent) of San Francisco employers sponsor green cards within the first year of employment, and 26 percent start the green card process immediately upon hire.
    • Nationally, 61 percent of employers start the green card process within an employee’s first year and 35 percent begin immediately upon hire.

Survey Methodology

Envoy’s 2018 Immigration Trends Report was conducted online by The Harris Poll from Nov. 13 to Dec. 13, 2017, with 401 HR professionals and hiring managers participating across a variety of industries and company sizes. Questions covered internal and external global immigration processes and challenges. Envoy examined the responses of 171 San Francisco-based HR professionals and hiring managers to the national survey to gather data for the San Francisco report. The data is weighted; a full methodology is available.

About Envoy

Founded in 1998, Envoy is a global immigration services provider offering the only immigration management platform that makes it seamless for companies to hire and manage an international workforce by combining expert legal representation — for both inbound and outbound immigration — and proprietary technology. Envoy empowers companies to acquire the best talent regardless of where they are in the world; helps mobilize employees around the world to take advantage of business opportunities; and enables the management of entire global workforces, providing a strategic, proactive view into workforce and financial forecasting and compliance. Envoy has managed more than 30,000 cases and served more than 2,000 customers in a broad range of industries.

Website, technology platform and administrative services are provided by Envoy Global Inc., a Delaware corporation. Legal services are provided by attorneys at one of the two U.S. Law Firms who provide services through the Envoy Platform. Please visit for more information.

About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.