Four Green Card Sponsorship Trends in 2020

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

Green cards continue to play an important role in foreign talent acquisition and retention

Foreign nationals are eager for the peace of mind and security associated with long-term sponsorship as a result of today’s uncertain political climate. Envoy Global surveyed over 400 human resources professionals to learn more about their green card sponsorship processes and plans in 2020. The survey was conducted at the end of 2019 and results do not reflect any potential impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Green card sponsorship trends from Envoy’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report

1) More employers are sponsoring foreign nationals than in previous years

U.S. immigration is in flux. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the current administration released policy updates and rule proposals that have elevated anxiety among foreign nationals. Sponsoring employers know the U.S. immigration process may involve hurdles and questions about future opportunities. To help ease concerns, we found that a majority of employers, 71%, have sponsored foreign nationals for permanent residence. This is an increase from 2019, when 66% of survey respondents said the same.

More employers are sponsoring foreign nationals than in previous years

2) Companies are changing their green card policies

Over the last year, companies have retooled their green card policies. Notably, 35% are sponsoring more green cards. Another interesting trend: 28% of respondents stated they are starting the process earlier.

3) The majority of employers start the green card application process immediately

Eighty-one percent of employers start the application process within an employee’s first year at the company. Breaking that number down even further, respondents said they start the process at different intervals within that first year:

  • Immediately (26%)
  • After three months (20%)
  • After six months (18%)
  • After one year of service (17%)

Employers may start the process early for a few reasons. First, it helps with recruitment and retention. Second, the wait for a green card varies, as it depends on an individual’s birth country and type of employment-based green card. For example, foreign nationals born in China or India can expect to wait 5 to 10 years before they are eligible to apply for their green card.

The majority of employers start the green card application process immediately

4) Employers cover more costs

The application process involves many costs, some of which the employer must cover. Foreign nationals may cover the other associated costs. In 2020, 84% of employers said they cover all green card-related fees. This number is a combination of the following responses:

  • We pay for all green card related-fees with a contractual stipulation (49%)
  • We pay for all green card-related fees (35%)

Employers who offer to cover some or all the costs, even with a contractual payment stipulation, may find themselves better suited to attract and retain foreign talent.

Employers cover more costs

Get even more insights about the most current immigration trends by downloading Envoy’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report. 

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

The post Four Green Card Sponsorship Trends in 2020 appeared first on Envoy Insights.