Why Immigrants Make a Big Impact for Small Businesses

May 4, 2016 Patty Johnson-Vazquez

As a small business owner, return on investment is top of mind. One of your biggest (and most important) investments is in the team of people you work alongside every day – so it’s important to hire smart.

If you’ve never hired outside of your local talent pool, you could be missing out on candidates who can truly move the needle for your company: Immigrants. They’ve proven, time and again, to be valuable team players for businesses big and small.

Here’s why you should consider recruiting foreign national workers into your small business:


1. They have the right skills – and companies are noticing.
Forty-five percent of H-1B Person in Specialty Occupation visa holders have a bachelor’s degree and 43 percent have a master’s degree, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Immigrants’ unique backgrounds and education make them a valued asset for small companies, and it shows: Of companies that sponsored between three and five H-1B visa applications, 30 percent were small businesses (50 or fewer employees) and 63 percent were medium businesses (50-500 employees). A recent study by VISANOW also showed that one-third of employers say they expect their company’s foreign national headcount to increase during the next year. With the right skills and education, immigrants are helping organizations compete in the global marketplace.


2. They have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Despite accounting for only 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2014, immigrants started 28.5 percent of all new businesses, according to the Kauffman Foundation. That figure is not a fluke as foreign nationals are consistently viewed as a key driver of U.S. entrepreneurship — and those stats are growing.

Over the last 15 years, the rate at which immigrants opened new businesses has increased by more than 50 percent, while native-born business creation has decreased by 10 percent.

So what does this mean for small businesses? Immigrants bring a mindset of entrepreneurship, initiative and drive into the tasks they complete every day. This translates into resourcefulness, a stronger work ethnic and self-sufficiency in their roles.


3. They influence new markets.
Achieving diversity through foreign national recruitment does more than reshape the demographics of a team. It has a ripple effect that extends to your bottom line. Immigrants act as the bridge between two cultures, introducing new goods and services they encounter to their own communities, which can grant small business owners entry into new, untapped markets. In other words, your foreign national workers can also become influential advocates for your business’ products and services.

“This practice of sharing resources is commonplace, since these individuals often have limited access to select services,” says Djimet Dogo, head of employment services at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization.



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