The world of immigration law can be complex, unpredictable, and ever evolving. Rules change, timeframes shift, and the process of applying for a visa can be overwhelming. But there is good news! U.S. companies are still very much interested in retaining and recruiting foreign talent.
Envoy Global recently conducted a survey of over 500 U.S. hiring managers and HR professionals to get their take on the changing nature of immigration law and its impact on talent mobility. The results are summarized in their 2021 Immigration Trends Report.
Foreign Talent Is in Demand
The main takeaway is that despite the volatile nature of immigration law, there is still a strong need for global talent in the U.S., especially as the economy gears up to start rebuilding after the global pandemic. Both U.S. immigration and the ability for U.S. employees to travel globally will be a vital piece of this recovery process.
Foreign Talent by the Numbers
Specifically, let us take a look at the actual numbers behind this development. Of the U.S. companies surveyed:
- 59 percent expect their foreign national headcount to increase next year.
- Compare to 53 percent in 2020 and 46 percent in 2019.
- 96 percent believe attracting foreign national employees is important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy.
- Compare to 93 percent in 2020.
- 54 percent noted that the lack of visa availability was a challenge under the Trump administration, which promoted anti-visa policies that slowed down visa processing times within USCIS.
- 95 percent stated that faster USCIS processing times and expedited filings are their top priority when it comes to possible improvements of the U.S. immigration system.
Biden’s ultimate treatment of the H-1B visa is still unclear, but he has allowed to expire the H-1B visa ban that was enacted by the Trump administration. Biden stated that such a freeze harmed the U.S. industries that rely on foreign talent.
USCIS has also stated that it may reopen, and possibly reconsider, H-1B petitions that were denied based on three rescinded memoranda.
Possible Wage-Based H-1B Visas
There is one rule that is a remnant of the Trump administration: “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States” is a final rule that was published on January 14, 2021. The effective date of that rule has been delayed until May 14, 2021.
On April 4, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) has also requested input from “interested parties to provide information on the sources of data and methodologies for determining prevailing wage levels covering employment opportunities that United States (U.S.) employers seek to fill with foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis through certain employment-based immigrant visas or through H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 nonimmigrant visas.” The deadline for comments is set for June 1, 2021.
In addition, DOL has also “proposed rulemaking on March 22, 2021, to further delay the effective date of the final rule by eighteen months or until November 14, 2022.” The goal is to possibly “revise the computation of prevailing wage levels in a manner that more effectively ensures the employment of certain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers does not adversely affect the wages of U.S. workers similarly employed.”
Higher required wages for H-1B recipients could impact how smaller U.S. companies with limited budgets for talent acquisition recruit employees and more importantly, the number of foreign nationals they may choose to sponsor each year.
According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) “three-fifths of all H-1B jobs were certified at the two lowest prevailing wage levels in 2019. In fiscal 2019, a total of 60% of H-1B positions certified by DOL had been assigned wage levels well below the local median wage for the occupation: 14% were at H-1B Level 1 (the 17th percentile) and 46% were at H-1B Level 2 (34th percentile).”
The desire to pay H-1B workers closer to the median wage for a specific occupation seems to be the driver behind this rule.
Sam Shihab & Associates Can Help
If you are an immigrant with any questions or concerns regarding your immigration case, H-1B visas, green card applications, or any other legal matter, speak at once to an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can help you and your family with any immigration issues you face and defend you if you’re accused of violating immigration law.
Our immigration attorneys will review your forms and applications for thoroughness and accuracy. Immigration laws will continually change, but an experienced immigration attorney will always be able to give you the most up-to-date immigration advice you need.
Contact us today!