Onboarding Foreign National Employees: Why Your Process Matters

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

Foreign nationals face lots of barriers when they come to the United States to work – long wait times, uncertainty amidst changing immigration policies, competition, complicated regulations, and little to no transparency throughout the process. Onboarding foreign national employees in a way that directly addresses these issues will likely make a difference in attracting and retaining valuable global talent.


Once you schedule interviews with potential hires, the process of onboarding foreign national employees begins. If that process drags on, you risk losing potential talent to other organizations with faster, more efficient onboarding and immigration procedures. In a recent survey of global talent in the U.S., we found that 28 percent of foreign national employees had to wait two to seven months between the first interview and the first day of work. And 40 percent of foreign nationals who faced frustrations during immigration said the slow process was to blame.

During a months-long screening process, candidates have plenty of time to seek out and find other opportunities. To ensure that you don’t lose valuable talent to long wait times, begin by streamlining the screening process for new candidates. Find the inefficiencies and correct them as soon as possible, and you may find that recruitment becomes easier on you and your new employees.


Immigration is complicated for the sponsoring company. It’s also lots of work and stress for the sponsored employee to gather and submit the necessary documentation to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration law. Thirty-one percent of expats interviewed told us that the biggest drawback of coming to the United States was the difficult immigration process, and when we asked candidates who did not have a positive experience with their immigration process, 15 percent cited a lack of control.

Taking time to put procedures in place for onboarding foreign national employees can go a long way to lessening the stress that comes with entering into a new country, especially during a time of such volatile immigration policies. The more control you have over immigration within your organization, the more at ease your new employees will have.


Your onboarding plan for new foreign national employees should be as transparent as possible for a few different reasons. Transparency and clarity on what and when documentation needs to be submitted, and on immigration status updates, will do wonders to easing the stress and anticipation of your new foreign national employees. Second, keeping lines of communication open and crystal clear will help you ensure that critical immigration items are in order and ready to submit. Having to search through months of emails can get tedious and cause mistakes, so it’s important to streamline transparency with technology.

For more opinions on onboarding foreign national employees and other insider insight, download our Global Talent Perspectives Report.