The U.S. doesn’t make immigration easy, particularly for businesses relying on an international workforce. People teams are up against changing policies, enforcement efforts, and attitudes. That’s why you should take pride in improving your immigration process and your international employees’ experience throughout it.
When you leave behind a chaotic immigration process, you begin to offer your international applicants and employees greater visibility and access to legal information. Knowledge and the ability to ask questions can do wonders to reduce the anxiety of the journey, even if it’ll never be totally stress free.
But improved accessibility to your immigration provider and legal information doesn’t mean your work is done. There are ways to offer your immigration stakeholders a more consistent immigration program, including better access to legal information and advice for your applicants and employees.
Limited Access is Good, But Not Enough
For businesses with emerging immigration programs, legal accessibility for international employees can leave much to be desired.
It’s common for international applicants and employees to:
- Have access to your immigration provider during the application process only,
- Deal with slow response times—possibly days before receiving an email or phone call, and
- Receive limited or confusing answers.
There are clear drawbacks to this situation.
International employees continue to have questions
An employee’s questions don’t stop once they have a start date.
International employees may:
- Need help with obtaining a visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their region,
- Have more questions about visas for their spouses and children, or
- Have questions about permanent residency or a pathway to citizenship.
To improve your employees’ experience, it’s important to strive for long-term access to legal information and advice from your immigration provider.
Wait times detract from the employee experience
There’s nothing worse than waiting days—or longer—for answers to questions. Employers and immigration providers can help to reduce an anxiety by keeping international employees (and by extension their families) in the loop with prompt updates.
Equally important, quick answers can make your international employees feel like valued members of your team.
Acknowledge Evolving Expectations
As employers continue to keep up with rapidly changing and nuanced employee requests, accessibility to experts becomes an increasing important dimension of the employee experience.
Your People team can’t answer all of an international applicant’s questions. They also don’t want to play telephone between international candidates and the provider. Instead, the People team expects their immigration provider to offer direct, timely communication with applicants.
International applicants expect a smooth and transparent process. They presume their future employer will have all of the answers to their questions, and they don’t want to work with companies who keep them in the dark during the journey.
How to Improve Your International Employees’ Access to Information
An element of growing into a predictable and consistent immigration program is providing your international employees with open access to legal information and practical support.
- Map your current legal accessibility: Your stakeholders should gather and define the pros and cons of your international employees’ current access to your immigration provider. Answer several questions: When can employees ask questions? How can they reach the provider? How long do they wait to get a response? Are the responses understandable and actionable?
- Set clear expectations with your immigration provider: Whomever you work with should have a clear understanding surrounding your expectations for employee access, including scope and response times.
- Provide barrier-less information: When it comes to basic immigration information, there are many ways to keep your employees informed. You can reduce employee questions and concerns by offering immediate access to comprehensive, up-to-date information through a blog or resource library.
- Consider ways to offer your employees greater support: The immigration process is complex and challenging beyond the initial application process. Through an employee survey, you can pinpoint areas of confusion and difficulty, then consider ways to help, such as preparing for interviews, obtaining visas through U.S. embassies or consulates, and making travel and living arrangements.
Use an Immigration Platform to Offer Quick, Accurate Accessibility
At this point in your journey toward a predictable immigration program, you may be using ad hoc technology solutions. Or, you may have an immigration provider that works well, yet doesn’t meet your People team and international employees’ growing expectations.
Look for a comprehensive immigration provider that understands the importance of each stakeholder’s experience.
The right immigration provider believes in:
- Direct contact with applicants,
- Unfettered access to legal information, and
- Acting as a strategic business partner.
Consider everyone’s needs, including your People team and international employees, when researching immigration solutions. Whoever you choose to work with should make everyone’s lives a little easier as you work towards optimizing your immigration program to be more accessible for all.
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.