In the latest edition of its Immigration Trends Report, the immigration firm Envoy Global says that up to 95% of United States employers believe that foreign nationals are important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy. The report gathered responses from over 400 human resources professionals and hiring managers. 80% of employers said that, when compared to last year, they expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same.
Foreign workers are especially important in the science and technology fields; while less than 1% of all U.S. jobs are performed by foreign workers, they account for over 12% of all tech employees. William Kerr, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, noted in the report that “immigrant talent now accounts for one in every 3.5 inventions in America, a dramatic growth from the 1970s, when foreigners contributed one in 12 patents.”
While U.S. companies rely on immigration for their future success, they are also reporting that the immigration process has become more difficult for them; 47% of respondents said their company’s visa application process has become more difficult compared with earlier years. Envoy Global CEO, Richard Burke, reports that employers “confronted material increases in requests for evidence (RFEs), case denials, site visits, and new policy memos.” Overall this has resulted in “heightened anxiety and uncertainty among foreign nationals, HR professionals and hiring managers.” When asked whether RFEs had increased for their employees over the last five years, over half of respondents said yes. RFEs are notices that agency officials send to applicants seeking more information for their applications, even after an application has been finalized and submitted to the agency for processing. The report’s findings align with other data which shows that the share of RFEs issued for H-1B cases jumped to 60% in late 2018, a large increase from the 28% in the same period two years prior.