Looking for COVID-19 Resources? Bridge is here to help!
Back to Blog

Taking Your Emerging Immigration Benefits Program to the Next Level

Bridge Team Member

Explore new opportunities to improve the delivery of immigration benefits to your international employees.

Though you may already provide international employees with some guidance and support for their immigration journey, you have identified some opportunities to step up the communication and support you offer. Currently, you can ensure international employees get answers to their immigration questions, but you want a more consistent and proactive approach to meeting their needs.

By taking some practical steps to document your immigration benefits and make them more accessible to international employees, you can demonstrate your commitment to building a more positive immigration experience and staying away from a chaotic benefits experience.

Be Proud of Your Accomplishments

While the communication of your immigration benefits may be a bit more informal than you would like, you have moved well beyond offering employees the bare minimum of information to support their immigration experience. 

In fact, you may have already found that the time and effort you have invested are paying off in the engagement and loyalty of your international employees. According to a Metlife survey of international employees, international employees who receive employer support tend to have high job satisfaction and engagement.

A press release summarizing the survey noted that “Globally-mobile employees lean on strong relationships with their employers to navigate work and life in a foreign country. When the employer can make this a positive experience, these employees will reward their employer with increased loyalty, enthusiasm, and commitment.”

Now that you have a strong foundation for offering immigration support to your international employees, you can supplement it with additional resources that can address possible gaps and problem areas.

Acknowledge the Potential Areas for Improvement

During the recruitment process, you present prospective employees with information that helps them understand health and wellness benefits as well as the benefits of your organizational culture. Why not present the same level of detail when describing available immigration benefits? 

Though you successfully answer employee questions verbally and over email, those ways of communicating have their shortcomings. They can answer some questions but overlook others. 

Without a clear and comprehensive immigration policy, you may be missing opportunities to provide international employees with a full view of the benefits you offer to help them reach critical immigration milestones. 

For example, perhaps you have answered employee questions about their eligibility for green card sponsorship, but you haven’t fully explained the immigration support available to family members. Here are some other challenges you may have encountered:

  • H-1B visas are most common in your organization, but you do not have a process for working with employees to determine which visa is most applicable to their education, skill level, and position.
  • International employees remain unsure about the decision-making process for visa renewals and support for green card applications.
  • International employees are unsure of how business and personal travel will affect their current visa status.
  • You don’t have a reliable way of keeping track of exceptions to your usual immigration practices, leaving employees with the impression that immigration benefits are not applied equitably.
  • International employees’ family members don’t know where to go for immigration assistance.

If you have encountered these and other challenges, taking some practical steps to formalize your immigration benefits and procedures can help you develop a more predictable immigration process.

How to Optimize Your Immigration Program 

Your recruitment and talent teams have worked hard to attract and retain international talent, and you want to build on that success. 

With the help of automation tools and experienced partners, you can move beyond an informal and ad hoc communication of your immigration policy and benefits. By designing an immigration program with the same structure and efficiency you have built into other talent management programs, you can provide international employees with enhanced services and support.

Consider taking the following steps to ensure your employees can take advantage of all available benefits:

  • Document your immigration practices in a comprehensive policy guide that addresses employee needs along each stage of the immigration journey.
  • After meeting employees’ immediate immigration needs, take a long-term approach and explain the process for initiating visa renewals and green card applications.
  • Leverage immigration technology to provide employees with a one-stop-shop experience for all immigration queries and resources.

When employees recognize the effort you have made to offer well-organized and clearly documented immigration benefits, they can be free of the worry and anxiety that sometimes accompany the immigration process. From there, you can take additional steps toward building a more predictable immigration program.

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.


More from the Blog

Elevate Your Immigration Process with a Strategic Approach

Once the data is clean and uploaded, the main business users are trained, and the policies are established; immigration turns from an administrative burden into a strategic business endeavor. By unlocking a more holistic People analytics & insights, Talent leaders can arm business leaders to make informed decisions that are not only good for the organization, but also the community and for its people. 

Read Story

A Better Way to Track International Employee Data in 2021 and Beyond

Modern companies require modern access to data and insights, the days of using spreadsheets (not systems) and ad-hoc reporting requests (not on-demand) are being phased out. In the People Operations world, there are very few situations that are static and slow-moving, so shouldn't your data be able to keep up with the pace of your business. But before you throw your old system in the bin, consider what key metrics would be critical to have visibility into and also what sort of vendor can help you best access the data and automated processes that you need.

Read Story

Key Immigration Data Points That People Teams Should be Tracking

Once companies choose to engage with visa sponsorship for their workforce, they also inherit more process, vendor, and compliance responsibilities. However, People Operations teams are beginning to ask for more data from the immigration teams. As we see an increasing importance to invest in creating a delightful employee experience and leveraging people data insights to deliver more business value, HR teams are taking a smarter approach to immigration case processing and reporting.

Read Story