Hiring Foreign Nationals: Good for Business, Good for America
Brian H. Getson, Esquire writes that the American electorate is energized by the issue of immigration reform, and now that there is consensus among President Barack Obama and influential members of Congress on the central points of much-needed immigration reform, it is likely that Congress will act on this issue soon.
As the President noted in his recent speech on immigration reform, “we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants,” and yet, many Americans mistakenly consider immigrants a threat to American prosperity. Businesses all too often view the regulations governing the process of hiring foreign nationals as forbiddingly complex and as a result job applications from highly skilled foreign nationals who could obtain work authorization through employer sponsorship and contribute services of great value are turned down.
Employers should understand that immigration laws provide them an opportunity to lawfully hire qualified foreign nationals. As immigration lawyers we guide employers through the immigration sponsorship process. We explain available employment-based immigration options, timing issues with regard to when a foreign national can begin employment, the feasibility of a foreign national obtaining the appropriate work visa, the legal requirements involved in hiring a foreign national, the costs involved in the sponsorship process, and how to comply with all regulations once the foreign national begins employment. We also prepare and file petitions with the proper government agencies for both temporary and permanent employment of foreign nationals. Most companies want to hire the best available talent regardless of nationality and the benefits of hiring foreign nationals generally outweigh the costs of sponsorship.
As the U.S. population becomes ever more multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, businesses benefit by maintaining a workforce that reflects the diversity of the population as a whole. Fresh ideas from foreign nationals on management, work flow, and employee relations can make a business more dynamic. Foreign nationals, especially those with science and engineering backgrounds, provide a diverse range of perspectives to the exchange of ideas. The linguistic and cultural knowledge of foreign nationals, along with their specific international networking ties, can assist businesses expand into foreign markets or immigrant populations in the U.S. Additionally, most foreign nationals are highly motivated and hard-working which benefits business.
The fear that foreign nationals are “taking away jobs from American workers” is based on the unfounded assumption that the number of jobs in the economy is fixed. The number of jobs in the economy is limited only by the number of capable individuals in the economy willing and able to work to meet specific economic demand. The presence in a company of highly skilled foreign nationals whose abilities and talents complement, rather than substitute for, those of U.S. workers has been proven to create new employment opportunities for U.S. workers rather than take employment opportunities away from U.S. workers. The creativity and energy with which foreign nationals seek out and create avenues for economic growth contribute value to business and society.
As the U.S. fertility and workforce participation rates continue to decline, hiring foreign nationals will be increasingly advantageous for businesses and a matter of necessity for economic success. It is hopeful that comprehensive immigration reform will enable U.S. businesses to hire an even greater number of foreign nationals. Regardless of the ultimate outcome of proposed comprehensive immigration reform, existing immigration laws should be embraced to hire qualified foreign nationals that can help businesses grow. Hiring foreign nationals contributes towards making the 21st century what President Obama calls “an American century welcoming of everybody who aspires to do something more, and who is willing to work hard to do it.”