Now more than ever, forward-thinking employers are taking a more holistic look at their immigration programs and realizing the impact of being strategic in how they sponsor international talent. Taking a transactional and reactive approach to the immigration function can leave employers exposed, administratively burdened, and disconnected from international employees. Let’s unpack why an immigration-vetted job bank is one of many tools you can use to be smarter about sponsorship.
Why it Matters Now
Recent Changes to Prevailing Wage Percentiles
On October 6, 2020, the Trump administration passed a rule which raises the prevailing wage percentiles for H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 and PERM-based Green Cards. Our partners at ImmiPartner lay out these changes in detail, but the greater impact is the decision to sponsor an international employee is now a six-figure decision for some job titles, a consideration for which many hiring managers are unaware.
Changes to Definition of Specialty Occupation under H-1B
Alongside the aforementioned changes to prevailing wages, on October 6, 2020, the Trump administration also proposed a new, narrower definition of what qualifies as a specialty occupation under the H-1B visa. Job titles for which an employer was once willing to sponsor an H-1B visa could no longer qualify. This change, if not recognized, could delay start dates, frustrate hiring managers, and waste resources.
Recent Memorandum of Agreement between USCIS and DOL
A July 31, 2020 MOA from the Department of Labor (DOL) announced “USCIS will refer suspected employer violations within the H-1B program to the Department of Labor that USCIS identifies in the course of adjudicating petitions – a source of information never previously accessed by the Department [of Labor] for enforcement purposes – and conducting administrative and targeted site visits.”
Inconsistencies in the job description for nonimmigrant applications and permanent residence application will not only be more easily identified, but enforcement activity could accompany those unintended missteps.
How to Create a Job Bank
Frequently, perhaps more in this climate, the first job description you send to your immigration counsel is not the job description that will appear in the final application. Your immigration counsel will work with you to ensure that you add in all special skills and degree requirements required for the role, and break job duties into percentages. What you have at the end of that exercise in an immigration-vetted job description.
Now, extrapolate that same exercise across your company’s full suite of technical requisitions and you have an immigration-vetted job bank.
Unsurprisingly, immigration is not at the forefront of most hiring managers’ minds when they’re conceptualizing a job description, but the upfront investment of standardizing the roles for which your company is willing to sponsor has far reaching benefits. While exceptions may occur, the roles for which your company is willing to sponsor are often more similar than you may think.
Benefits of Creating an Immigration-vetted Job Bank
Reduced Administrative Burden: In the era of COVID-19 where HR teams are leaner than previous years, wasted time with the immigration function in taking time away from other, equally important aspects of serving employees.
Enterprise-wide Immigration Policy: Immigration stakeholders, including both hiring managers and recruiters, have a standard job bank from which they can pull technical requisitions and know the expected salaries for international employees in those positions.
Objective Performance Measurement: Serving the greater immigration policy, specifically when employees are considered for a Green Card, job banks allow for that criteria to remain as objective as possible.
Limited Exposure Across the Enterprise: As enforcement activity continues to rise, a holistic look at each international employee’s lifecycle, and their job description for each case, limits the likelihood of exposure in light of the recent DOL MOA.
PERM Batching: For those who are unfamiliar, PERM batching is the practice of running one set of recruitment for the same role, in turn paying for multiple PERM applicants. This practice is only possible with the upfront investment of building a job bank.
How to Get Started
Job banks are not an isolated opportunity within an immigration program. Rather, an immigration-vetted job bank should be an initiative to consider within a greater effort to formalize an immigration policy and ultimately an immigration strategy.
Now more than ever before, a strategic approach to immigration is a must if employers are hoping to remain compliant and find the best possible talent, regardless of nationality. Taking a transactional and case-by-case approach has proven to be an administrative burden and as of late, a compliance risk.
As always, the experts here at Bridge are willing to discuss both job banks and immigration policy. Set up some time with an expert here.
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.