Helping US employers with H-1B visa compliance

US immigration policy and reform have been high on the agenda for Donald Trump since he became President. Every visa category is currently under review, whether publicly or privately, but the U.S. work visa undoubtedly making the headlines is the H-1B visa.

Since signing the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order in April, 2017, there’s been mass upheaval across the business community. Many U.S. companies have been forced to scramble to meet compliance criteria and deal with likely skills shortages as a result of Trump’s ever tightening U.S. visa restrictions.

How has this affected U.S. employers?

Let’s put it this way, many human resources departments have been extremely busy in recent months!

Right now, the recruitment landscape looks very different for U.S. employers. What the future holds is everyone’s guess. The question is, how do employers who rely heavily on H-1B visa holders prepare themselves for what is to come?

Acumen International sheds some light on where you stand and what you can do to safeguard your business amid an imminent H-1B visa lockdown and likely skills shortages.

The H-1B visa story so far

Following the signing of the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other US government agencies, have been under strict instructions to ensure that H-1B visas are only granted to highly skilled or highly paid individuals.

This follows years of alleged abuse of the H-1B visa system, mainly by foreign tech companies, who are accused of hiring foreign workers on lower salaries for IT roles, at the expense of American workers. Stories of American workers being forced to train their replacements, before being fired, were widely documented by the media.

It’s clear that the broader goal of the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order is to boost wages and employment rates for U.S. workers via rigorous enforcement and the administering of U.S. immigration laws, to eliminate abuse of the H-1B visa system.

Unfortunately, this has left many US employers in a really tight spot, and the road ahead is only set to get bumpier.

How are things looking for US employers right now?

A report recently released by Talent Tech Labs (TTL) states that 80% of large employers are very concerned that a shortage of H-1B work visas will make talent acquisition even more difficult.

Under the current system, 85,000 H-1B visas are issued each year, 20,000 of which are reserved for applicants with a master’s degree. The problem is, many are caught up in a lengthy ‘lottery’ process that can last 18 months or more.

How are US employers trying to combat skills shortages?

Unsurprisingly, many large US organisations are finding it easier to shift operations to other countries where they can hire the right talent at the right price and much quicker. However, not every company has this luxury, and for those employers trying to wait out the US visa system, they have to have their talent pipeline packed well ahead of the process.

Unfortunately, this leads to a wider problem. The cost of recruiting is escalating, while the time it takes to process foreign personnel is adding to lost productivity. Meanwhile, amid the chaos, employers are getting themselves into a mess with H-1B visa compliance.

The risks of H-1B non-compliance

U.S. employers are expected to vet every candidate thoroughly. They need to be able to prove that each candidate is someone who can safely come into the U.S. to work, plus they must be highly qualified for each job. While this can help reduce visa delays, many organisations do not have the resources in place to ensure they meet compliance criteria.

Failure to comply with H-1B regulations will result in an audit and most likely an investigation. These usually occur as a result of a current or former employee filing a complaint against an employer.

Compliance criteria for an H-1B visa is a minefield. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that many US employers fail to comply with H-1B visa requirements. Ultimately, this can lead to problems for employers, with audits and investigations that can result in companies being hit with hefty financial penalties.

The truth is, US employers require expert assistance to meet H-1B visa regulations and to secure the right staff for the future of their business. That’s where Acumen International comes in…

How Acumen International can help with H-1B compliance

As a Global Employer of Record service company, we offer a fully compliant employment solution for both locals and expats that is active in 190+ countries. We can assist you with the H-1B process to employ foreigners on your behalf in the USA with 100% compliance. However, we will be able to apply for a visa in April 2018 at the soonest. With an overall process taking from 6 to 18 months, the earliest date your employees hired through us can start working for you is October 2018, when they’ve received a visa. This is without saying that H-1B visa is a random selection process, sometimes referred to as an H-1B lottery caused by the USCIS getting several times as many petitions as the actual cap subject number of about 85,000 numbers (65,000 regular quota + 20,000 Masters quota). This would mean there is no guarantee your applicants will ultimately get a visa.

Given the above complexities of H-1B visas, another option for companies is to expand their horizons into global talent banks. Our Global Employer of Record solution allows you to employ foreign workforce (local citizens) locally in literally any country of the world instead of relocating them to the USA. With the US H-1B visa process becoming more challenging, Acumen serves to acquire, engage, and maintain a talented international workforce on your behalf, allowing you to access a pool of global talent, select the best skills fully aligning with your project needs and at the same time take advantage of the overseas wages. With our solution, you no longer need to wait for months to have your employees work for you. On the contrary, you can instantly engage your workforce so you can plan and take up more projects, leading to higher customer satisfaction and more profits for your company.

By outsourcing employment of your global workforce to Acumen International, you get a unique opportunity to attract and engage top global talent taking advantage of lower wages overseas and enjoying freedom from establishing local business entities. By choosing to employ your foreign workforce instead of hiring them through any other mode, you can reduce compliance risks and liabilities, on the one hand, and retain the key people, on the other hand.

As your single business partner in over 180+ countries, we ensure that you get unlimited access to a pool of global talent, and have them employed through a single service agreement with our company.

All of these benefits will help to ensure that your company does not fall foul of H-1B visa compliance rules and crippling skills shortages.

To learn more about how Acumen International can help you, call +1 (813) 336-1605, now or send us the details of your hiring need.

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