Building a consistent immigration program can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Instead of worrying about the endgame, your Talent team, hiring managers, and People team are better off working toward an emerging program. Small improvements over time make a significant difference.
You can take steps in the coming weeks to better manage your talent, including international applicants and employees. That includes taking a hard look at how your team members craft job descriptions.
Your Job Descriptions Can Hold Your Immigration Program Back
Crafting job descriptions for technical talent seem simple enough, but in reality, they might kick off a messy immigration workflow. Once an international candidate applies for a position, your team has to be ready to evaluate their potential and consider the immigration implications.
Are the position and applicant eligible for an employment-based visa and, if so, what are your stakeholders’ next steps?
Job descriptions can be inconsistent
You may not have taken steps to standardize job descriptions based on immigration regulations and a clear internal policy yet. Unfortunately, this means your team writes a new job description each time a position opens up, and it’s a toss-up whether it’ll be ready for the immigration application process.
Job descriptions can foster confusion
A hallmark feature of a chaotic immigration program is confusion among the internal stakeholders regarding:
- Which open positions are appropriate for international employees based on the responsibilities and U.S. immigration regulations, and
- When international applicants are eligible for an employment-based visa.
Companies that struggle to keep up with changing immigration regulations often fail to have a defined immigration policy. In turn, the job descriptions lack clarity regarding whether international workers should apply.
International workers who throw their hats in the ring might end up corresponding with hiring managers or People team members who aren’t sure about sponsorship. Ineligible candidates may get further along in the process than they should. It’s a vicious cycle of uncertainty.
Job descriptions can waste time and monetary resources
When applying for an employment-based immigration visa, federal agencies evaluate whether the international employee should fill the position and not someone currently residing in the country.
For example, H-1B visas are based on specialty occupations. The job description must outline a specialty occupation per the regulations. Then, the international applicant’s education, training, and experience must fulfill that specialty role.
Because of the complexity of immigration rules, it’s helpful to work with immigration counsel to craft job descriptions that outline the minimum education and training requirements and job responsibilities, focusing on the specific, technical aspects of the role—not “soft skills.”
In a chaotic immigration program, your team may have to rewrite the description for the application process after finding a candidate based on the initial job ad. This wastes time and your People team’s efforts.
Job descriptions can increase the risk of RFEs and Audits
Poorly written or rewritten job descriptions can increase the risk of Requests for Evidence (RFEs).
For instance, if your team doesn’t fully understand U.S. immigration regulations and enforcement due to recent changes or inexperience, they may submit a suboptimal description. If they hope to secure an H1-B visa, but the job description doesn’t properly demonstrate a specialty occupation, you can expect an RFE for additional proof.
Discrepancies between the role and the applicant can lead to RFEs, as well. If your team had to rewrite the job description for the application process, you might find your international candidate isn’t ideal for the role. Though they may fit based on the initial job description, their education, training, and experience may not align with the new, immigration-vetted description.
Another problem is if you’ve applied different hiring requirements to the same or similar positions over time. The DOL or USCIS may become concerned with your company’s inconsistencies, and one may audit your immigration program.
Strive for “Immigration-Ready” Job Descriptions
The job descriptions you use for recruiting should be ready for the immigration application process.
When you craft an optimal job description the first time around, you’ll get high-quality candidates. Then, if your business selects an international applicant, your People team is ready to jump into the immigration journey.
Your team can move forward by:
- Defining which positions are eligible for sponsorship: Not all jobs are appropriate for an employment-based visa, which is why role standardization is necessary. If you haven’t already, define which roles you can fill with international employees and which you can’t. Your internal stakeholders benefit from a clearly-defined immigration policy.
- Reviewing immigration application requirements: To understand what makes a job description immigration-ready, analyze the U.S. Department of Labor certification requirements (e.g. H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services visa requirements. This review gives your team a chance to catch up on changes made under the current administration and can be immensely helpful for the less experienced members of your team.
- Connecting with immigration counsel: When beginning to craft immigration-ready job descriptions, it’s best to partner with someone experienced. Writing job descriptions for positions eligible for a visa is a skill your team has to learn and improve over time.
- Crafting consistent, immigration-ready job descriptions: Finally, your team can apply what it’s learned. It can start by writing consistent, immigration-ready job descriptions for your most frequently sponsored positions.
Start to Consider an Immigration Provider
Depending on your organization’s journey toward building a predictable immigration program, you may not be ready to invest in a comprehensive immigration vendor. Instead, you may continue to rely on email and ad hoc immigration tools.
While these are enough to begin improving your role standardization, it’s time to contemplate what you’d need from an immigration vendor. Research your options. The right provider acts as a strategic partner in standardizing the roles available to international employees and crafting immigration-ready job descriptions.
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.