Green Card Sponsorship as a Tool to Attract Talent

June 19, 2017 Chelsea Iversen

The benefits of a global workforce are irrefutable and using immigration-related perks like green card sponsorship can go a long way. Yes, finding the best talent often means expanding the size of the talent pool, but thinking globally also helps increase your organization’s relevancy. And, to be relevant, you need to be able to offer immigration-related perks to attract talent from around the world.

In this year’s Immigration Trends Survey report, we found that 64 percent of employers say sourcing foreign national employees is extremely or very important to their companies’ talent acquisition strategy, and that 55 percent of employers expect their company’s foreign national headcount to increase in the next year.

So, if most of us are already expecting an increase in global talent, how can we leverage internal immigration policies to gain a competitive edge?

Consider shortening the waiting period for green card sponsorship

Applying a rigid waiting period before your company will consider starting work on a green card could be detrimental to both the company’s and the employee’s best interest.

However, 36 percent of companies typically don’t start the green card application process for sponsored employees until one year of service, and the average waiting period is six months.

It is critical, in many cases, to allow for a probationary period to give you the chance to assess the fit of a new employee before offering green card sponsorship, just as you would wait before activating other employee benefits. But large companies tend to offer immediate green card sponsorship as a signing bonus for joining the company, which is a big perk for the global worker.

A policy that allows for immediate green card sponsorship could be more attractive than a policy that requires employees to wait a year. Given the choice, a global employee in search of permanent residency might opt for the organization offering the latter.

Cover all green card fees

We found that 84 percent of employers pay for all green-card-related fees. Only 13 percent report paying for just the costs associated with the PERM recruitment process, not the I-140/I-485.

Covering all immigration fees could be a significant factor in the recruitment process globally, giving your organization an advantage over others who only cover what’s legally required.

An adaptive sponsorship policy could also increase employee loyalty, lower employee stress and increase productivity once a sponsored employee is hired. It’s simple: making immigration barriers as seamless as possible makes for happy employees.

In the case of termination, many companies (about half) have adopted a payback policy for green card expenses. This is a retention strategy that is designed to protect the organization and could help to attract dedicated workers. Often, a graduated payback policy is the best choice. For example, you could start with the employee covering the full cost of green card expenses if he or she terminates employment within six months of receiving permanent residency. And you could end with an employee covering 10 percent of the cost if he or she terminates employment within two years of receiving permanent residency.

Other immigration-related perks

Employers are starting to invest more and more in relevant perks for their global workforce, and it’s paying off. With 83 percent offering immigration-related perk packages, it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete for talent without them.

Some of the most common perks organizations are offering include:

  • Dependent visa or green card applications for family members
  • Travel (free airfare to visit his or her home country, airfare for immediate family members’ travel)
  • Housing (temporary housing, corporate housing)
  • Immediate green card sponsorship
  • Transportation (car service, company car, rental car)
  • Cultural assimilation training
  • Overseas assignment opportunities

Among those offering immigration-related perks, 38 percent spend over $16,000 for each individual. If you’re not investing in immigration-related perks, you may not be competitive on a global scale.

To learn more about how to maximize your green card sponsorship policy, watch the 2017 Green Card Trends webinar.

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