Immigration management typically falls to HR. But HR isn’t just responsible for immigration, and it’s not just for one season; they have a full plate all year long. HR departments often need more efficiency during H-1B season so immigration management doesn’t completely take over everything for months at a time.
This past year, immigration has become a complex, ever-changing array of challenges for immigration specialists. When we asked hundreds of HR professionals and hiring managers about these challenges, we discovered that they’re struggling to make it work.
Employers have faced challenges in hiring and retention of global talent since the start of 2017. Eighty-five percent say the current U.S. immigration system has had an impact, 28 percent have increased staff to address these new challenges, 26 percent have had to delay projects and 22 percent have relocated work overseas as a result.
H-1B season sucks time from HR departments
All this complexity is on hyper-drive during February and March. Cap-subject H-1B season is a multi-month sprint requiring HR professionals and immigration managers to gather documentation for the company, employees and prospects.
They have to put together LCAs and file petitions with accurate information. They have to prepare for RFEs, which increased by 45 percent last year. They field questions from employees and have questions of their own for attorneys, who are sometimes slow to respond or require translation services for their answers. They manage communications and have to make sure deadlines are met, or else they risk the company missing out on the best talent.
With all the time-consuming tasks required of H-1B cap season (here’s an H-1B cap season survival guide that breaks it all down), HR departments find themselves with more work than they can handle. Often, there’s barely time for anything else. Inevitably, strategic initiatives and other critical tasks get put on the back-burner until after April 1.
Those tasks and strategies represent opportunities to promote and manage growth, procure talent and manage the human resources you already have. And they’re lost to time spent on H-1B cap season.
Cloud technology offers efficiency during H-1B season
By using cloud technology for immigration and to increase efficiency during H-1B season, employers can ease the burden on HR departments, freeing up time and space for more strategic pursuits (like finding, hiring and keeping valuable talent). Here are some ways tech can help:
Automated case management
Automation in the application process can save HR teams hours and hours of time. Technology can allow them to work within an online platform that automatically adjusts to any visa type for customized case preparation. Think document prompts for teams to see what sort of supporting documentation is necessary, and auto-tracked case timelines so they can stick to deadlines, avoiding unnecessary backlog.
A cloud-based platform can have the benefit of transparency. Immigration specialists can access all their immigration information in one place and share necessary information quickly and easily with petitioners and attorneys. No more long email chains where essential documentation gets buried.
Fast, clear communication
An online platform with real-time messaging means immigration managers don’t have to wait days or weeks for responses to questions. They can have them answered in hours, with direct communication with an immigration practitioner who knows their cases well. And, an app-based immigration platform could allow mobile access for foreign nationals, giving employees the opportunity to check on their status and upload documents on their own (even from their phone).