The Demand for Global Talent: Findings from Envoy Global’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

Companies are using immigration to address skills gaps in a tight labor market and foster a diverse workforce

The demand for foreign talent is growing. Here in the U.S., companies face a shortage of nearly 6.5 million highly skilled workers. In fact, 79% of business leaders across America believe there will be a shortage of talent. Accordingly, companies are hiring talent from all over the world, including India, China and Europe to help fill these open roles. 

Labor shortage concerns aside, foreign hiring is also becoming an effective way to achieve corporate diversity and impress a workforce that values inclusion more highly than previous generations. 

The demand for global talent in today’s competitive hiring environment

U.S. ‘Desperate’ for Immigrants

In Feb. 2020, Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told a private crowd that the current administration is “desperate for more people.” The biggest concern, according to Mulvaney, was that there simply are not enough people in the U.S. to fuel future economic growth. While Mulvaney’s words are seemingly at odds with the Trump administration’s policies toward legal immigration, his words echo the sentiments business leaders feel and are acting upon.

According to Envoy Global’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report, 85% of employers surveyed said they expect their foreign national headcount to increase or stay the same in the next year. There are two main reasons for this growth:

  1. Filling open high-skilled positions
  2. Filling open non high-skilled positions

These sources of immigration work account for 50% of the primary source for hiring foreign nationals.

This graph shows the primary source of growth in U.S. immigration work.

Other Benefits of Hiring Foreign Nationals

There are many more benefits of hiring foreign nationals other than simply filling an open role.

One such benefit: increasing diversity in the workforce. An overwhelming majority of employers (95%) said sponsoring foreign nationals makes it easier to attract and retain a diverse workforce. More so, it’s no secret that organizational diversity helps deliver strong business results.

“When companies open up their search for talent to a global reach, not only are they giving their teams an opportunity to select from a wider range of great talent, there is an inherent benefit of bringing in culture and diversity of experiences maybe not currently on the team,” said Lindsay Dagiantis, the VP of human resources at Envoy Global.

Foreign Nationals Bring Valuable Perspectives

Another important takeaway from employers is that foreign nationals bring many perspectives to their U.S.-based roles. For example, 96% of employers said foreign nationals have knowledge of markets, cultures and business practices outside of the U.S.

Deep knowledge of foreign markets is crucial if U.S. companies are gearing up to launch a product or service in a new market or are thinking of opening a foreign office. Not having these perspectives can potentially lead to misaligned business results.

This chart shows the importance of each item in a company's decision to sponsor foreign talent.

More so, 96% of employers said foreign nationals bring valuable new perspectives to the way their companies do business. These perspectives can lead to fresh ideas and innovations. Finally, employee development is key for many employers these days. Not only are they hiring skilled foreign nationals, but U.S. employees are also able to build their skills because of global rotational assignments.

“As data shows, companies with more diverse workforces benefit in morale and perform better financially than groups that have less diverse populations,” said Dagiantis.

Download a copy of Envoy’s 2020 Immigration Trends report for more insights on current talent trends and to benchmark your company’s immigration program against your peers.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is a 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.