As the election wraps up and we uncover who will lead us in these next four years, there is angst and anticipation. Understandably so, as the Trump administration has tightened policies down when it comes to immigrating into the United States. It has many companies rethinking sponsoring international employees in the U.S., considering more secure options elsewhere, and forgetting that America is a democracy.
The Trump administration has issued over 400 executive actions intended to restrict immigration into the U.S., and it’s imperative to pursue litigation as some of these rules could remain for years to come. The Obama administration, on the other hand, sought to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and offer legal reprieve to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have resided in this country for the last five years, along with many other pro-immigration policies.
In a democracy, employers have to be prepared for the immigration landscape to fluctuate. Some leaders will enact tighter restrictions on immigration and others will change it to reflect their values. That’s how it works.
Nevertheless, the majority of Americans know that we are a country founded on immigrants. Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, Paypal Co-Founder Max Levchin, and Elon Musk Founder of SpaceX and Tesla, and along with many others changed America’s technology for the better. A recent Gallup report states, “34% of Americans, up from 27% a year ago, would prefer to see immigration to the U.S. increased. This is the highest support for expanding immigration Gallup has found in its trend since 1965.”
Our angst today should not be focused on the administration but on how immigration firms and technology can adjust, pivot, and overcome challenge in a changing landscape. Various immigration firms and startups are evolving at a fast pace to offer transparency, financial forecasting, and sophisticated digital data management tools to respond to compliance regulations. Here’s a breakdown of three ways your immigration provider can help bring stability to your immigration program:
Successful programs are repeatable; by creating a set of procedures and policies to follow immigration can transform from reactive to strategic.
- Timing. Knowing when you can sponsor and anticipating when employees will need to reapply will greatly reduce the angst in the process.
- Fees. Knowing who will cover immigration fees, for both the employee and any dependents, helps everyone to plan for the future.
- Transparency. Creating a policy eases anxiety throughout the immigration process and takes out the guessing when it comes to next steps.
Strong programs not only consist of clear guidelines, but offer competitive policies regarding sponsorship and fees.
In the name of preparation, the cost of each case can fluctuate, and a digital tool can help you adjust the variables that could impact your overall budget for applications.
- Your immigration costs should include a base estimate for standard filing and preparation fees as well as variables that, if included, can increase the costs.
- Dependents, Requests for Evidence (“RFEs”), premium processing and other variables can vary from case to case. Your immigration provider should be transparent with estimated costs to get a better sense of what you are going to be spending to help you prepare for the future.
As the proliferation of data and secure cloud-based systems are more widely adopted into the corporate landscape, companies with a strong immigration program will look to leverage data that is secure, accessible, and actionable.
- An immigration provider should have portable records. Your international employee’s profile and historical information should be accessible and easily transferable to other applications and visas.
- The system they use should allow you to search and filter specific information such as when statuses are expiring in the next 6 months, and when employees are close to maxing out. This creates stability for your company, and should be accessible by you and everyone on your immigration team.
- The data should also be meaningful. It should tell you how it relates to the whole picture, whether preparing for adjustments in hiring or finding new talent.
- Many compliance and audit documentation currently lives in spreadsheets for providers, and the success of your program depends on whether a human being has correctly maintained a spreadsheet. You should be using a secure digital platform where you are not relying on spreadsheets, and gathering real time data in digital reports.
When it is all said and done, some employers can certainly set up shop in another country that will have their own set of rules and regulations, but America is progressive and in time our leadership will reflect those values in the true spirit of a democracy. And if not now, more than ever, it is important to rely on those experts and companies who are best at offering transparency when it comes to your immigration strategy, financial forecasting, and data management to bring stability to your immigration program allowing you to continue to attract and obtain top tier talent, regardless of nationality.
To quote Bridge's CTO and Co-Founder, Forrest Blount, “Not all years are as crazy as this one! You should not benchmark 2020 as the standard for how much you need to adjust your immigration policy to the government rules, this is an exceptional year in many respects.”
Find out more about our purpose-built technology platform that automates manual processes and then goes way beyond, with deeply integrated collaboration, employee-specific dashboards, and tools for planning, budgeting, and compliance.
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 a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.