At every step of the H-1B process, employers can be a trusted resource for their sponsored employees
Providing a positive employee experience is important for any organization, but for those who sponsor foreign talent, it is particularly critical. The immigration process carries profound gravity for the individuals going through it, and anxiety is normal. A holistic approach to immigration needs to recognize what foreign nationals are facing and make supporting them an organization-wide effort.
Strategic planning and thoughtful practices can help your team minimize the anxiety for foreign nationals and provide them with the best possible immigration experience once they’ve made the decision to work for your company.
Consider these practices during H-1B cap season to improve the employee experience
Explain the process. For some foreign nationals, this may be their first experience with the U.S. immigration system. HR teams can use kick-off meetings with the employee and his or her hiring manager to walk them through the process, approximate timelines and expectations during each phase.
Consider Perks. Even before a petition is submitted, new hires have a lot on their plate, from arranging travel to finding housing in their destination country. Destination services and immigration-related perks such as temporary housing and travel reimbursement can help offset costs and simplify the nuances of navigating a new culture.
Invest In Tech. Having a robust immigration management platform in place not only helps HR teams streamline case preparation and filing, but shows employees that the organization has the systems in place to ensure accuracy during the process.
Keep information organized. There are numerous pieces of documentation involved in the visa application process. As such, developing a standardized method of collecting and storing information helps protect employee privacy and spares them the inconvenience of having to submit required materials multiple times.
Make communication simple. In the current political climate, it’s understandable that foreign nationals may feel anxious throughout the H-1B petition process. HR teams should help their sponsored employees feel empowered to ask questions about their case status and make sure they know who to contact with concerns or other issues.
Consider alternatives. HR teams should work with their immigration attorneys to map out alternative visa options for employees as a backup plan considering the current immigration environment. Doing so can help prevent delays and can alleviate some of the uncertainty a foreign national may be experiencing.
Manage expectations. It’s important for HR teams to understand how and when their immigration attorney expects to hear of selection and case progression, and foreign nationals could be included in conversations about their case status.
Troubleshoot effectively. Requests For Evidence (RFEs) can happen, and in the event an employee’s petition receives one, HR managers should know what it means and how to communicate next steps to the affected employee in a thoughtful and non-alarming manner.
Make onboarding comprehensive. A thoughtful, personalized onboarding experience creates happy, productive employees, and foreign nationals are no exception. Build out content that showcases the company culture as well as workplace expectations, and check in regularly with new hires to troubleshoot issues.
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. (www.giafirm.com), 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.