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Risk Mitigation in an Immigration Program Is Complex and Takes Time

Bridge Team Member

One significant difference between a chaotic and a predictable immigration program is how your stakeholders identify and address risk.

At this point in your journey, your team most likely understands what factors can cause the following immigration risks:

  • Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
  • Months-long appeals processes
  • Visa denials
  • Government audits, fines, back wages, and debarment
  • Poor talent management, lost productivity, and high employee churn
  • Wasting time and monetary resources 

It takes considerable effort to identify your organization’s specific issues and start to address them one by one. If your team is struggling, remember that no organization fully mitigates risk overnight. It’s a continuous process, which is why you should applaud your team’s recent efforts, even when there’s more work to be done.

 

Are You Failing to See the Benefits of Risk Mitigation?

Many immigration stakeholders expect to see improvements within months of addressing risk. Unfortunately, many teams might not see substantial benefits right away. It’s natural to feel discouraged, but this is part of the process. You’ll need to continuously review your risk mitigation strategies and resulting key metrics to adjust.

Consult your immigration provider

When you’re trying to address risk regarding reducing RFEs or other issues, it’s time to sit down with your immigration provider. With your immigration counsel’s help, you can evaluate what you’re doing right, what needs to change, and what might be missing from your program.

Ask your provider for comparisons and strategies

Your immigration provider may have access to a wealth of industry knowledge and case-specific knowledge that you lacking visibility into. For instance, immigration providers with the right scale and data can identify trends among comparable organizations and verticals. They can see what helps other companies succeed and whether similar strategies may help you. 

Reevaluate and push forward

You may need to adjust your plans. For example, maybe it’s time to dive deeper into why you’ve received RFEs since beginning to address the risk prior to submitting applications.

RFEs may be due to government policy, but they also might indicate an opportunity to level up your team’s understanding of common RFE situations and how to handle them.

You may also need to invest in some additional steps, such as standardizing your job descriptions and creating an immigration-vetted job bank. It takes time to get job descriptions into shape and get everyone within the organization to use them.

Review data

Pattern recognition is key to risk mitigation, and it requires continuously gathering data on your applications, RFEs, and denials vs. approvals. The ability to review the impact of the changes you make is essential. 

If you can’t gather data and run reports efficiently, it might be time to figure out how. You may want to consider partnering with a comprehensive immigration vendor. High-quality platforms offer a centralized data source and easy access to immigration reports.

Instead of looking at disparate spreadsheets, a platform offers easily customizable charts and reports that make data-driven decision-making easier for both managers and executives.

 

Consider Risks Beyond RFEs 

When organizations first try to alleviate risk, they focus heavily on the application process, common RFEs, and potential audits. However, obtaining visas is only half of an immigration program. The other half is recruiting and retaining top talent and crafting a delightful employee experience is the cherry on top.

A good onboarding process is essential

When building a strong, productive team it helps to address the risks involved in the onboarding of international candidates. There are many stages at which an immigration program can disappoint new employees, damaging your work culture and contributing to early turnover.

Your new international employees have to make travel and living arrangements, figure out their budget, and plan for their (and potentially their family’s) future at your company. Your program should thoroughly address these issues and help candidates start their new lives. By communicating clear benefits program guidelines and adding process visibility, international employees can rest assured you've prepared to have them stay for the long haul and can quickly check their progress whenever they wish.

Provide continuous immigration support

As part of your talent retention efforts, you can offer ongoing immigration support and long-term visibility for your international employees and their families. It helps to give them an avenue to communicate with their immigration provider directly before and after the application process. As employment-based immigrants, they’ll have questions and concerns throughout their time at your company.

It’s also helpful to be upfront about your immigration benefits, including whether or not your organization sponsors permanent residency. Industry professionals interested in a PERM application down the road may move to an employer willing to sponsor them.

 

Do You Have a Comprehensive Immigration Platform Yet?

If your organization has yet to partner with a comprehensive immigration vendor, you’ll experience limited benefits from your risk mitigation efforts. Without an experienced vendor, you’ll have trouble uncovering industry comparisons, which can be invaluable information when crafting risk mitigation strategies.

Another issue is data collection. It’s incredibly challenging to gather, analyze, and review data by hand. Spreadsheets are prone to human error, and a simple date switch—2022 instead of 2023—can have meaningful consequences. A comprehensive immigration provider automatically collects important data and offers easy reporting and statistics functions, enabling you to avoid human error.

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to look for a true immigration partner who will help you strategically minimize risk throughout the recruitment, application, and onboarding processes.


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.

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