Considering Sponsoring a Work Visa for a Prospective New Hire? The 5 Key Factors to Consider First

Over the past 2 decades, DyNexus Recruiting has recruited, placed and hired hundreds of ERP and CRM (IT) consultants for VARs, ISVs and ERP & CRM end-user companies.  I’m struck how strongly the ERP and CRM world reflects the global nature of how business is done.  The business of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relations Management) solution providing can essentially be boiled down to two major components: 1) the systems to run the businesses, and 2) the people to run the systems. Both of these components have become global.

Globalization has resulted in the workforce being extremely international, and often the best and the most numerous candidates for these technologies require a work visa to work in the US.  Visa sponsorship for foreign technology workers is complex, risky and in a state of flux and uncertainty.  There are a lot of sources of information about the legal aspects of visa application, and you should do some research, but I wouldn’t try to go through the application process without the help of a lawyer (or paralegal) who specializes in this.  But, here’s a good place to start.

We won’t go into the legal or financial issues involved in visa sponsorship in this blog entry.  That’s to be done by someone qualified to speak with legal or financial authority.  Rather, I’m going to talk about five of the most frequent “practical” considerations that come up in the hiring of foreign employees. Note, this is anecdotal, and only from my experience.  But, if you’ve been involved with this, you’ll probably find yourself nodding in agreement or at least in recognition.

Practical considerations (in no particular order):

    1. Does the candidate want this job, or only to join a company that is willing to sponsor a visa? – Often, the candidate’s desire to work in the US is the dominant factor. Less dominant, much of the time, is the candidate’s genuine drive to work for your company, doing the specific job you are offering, in your specific location.  Your consideration in hiring them must include their passion for the work, their fit into your company culture, and if they will be happy with the location (if relocation is required).  This is not to say that just because a candidate is looking for visa sponsorship, they aren’t passionate about the work, and won’t be a long-tenured employee. It’s just something to consider during the hiring process.
    2. How sure can I be about visa processing? – There seems to be a lot of potential glitches in the visa process. In my personal experience, my clients who handled this invariably made it through the process, but often there were “surprises” that needed extra work and money, and presented risk.  Get help, and stay on top of it.
    3. What about the quality of the candidate’s education and skills? – Again, from my experience, foreign candidates I have worked with have been the cream of the crop. Their education is excellent and their skills are most often top-notch.
    4. What about work ethic? – As I said above, these are the cream of the crop. They’ve achieved their education in a highly competitive environment. They’ve demonstrated the gumption required to leave their homes, families, languages and culture and “make it” in the US.  They most often express a genuine gratitude for the opportunity to work for a good company.
    5. What about communication? – This can be tricky. In the kind of positions I fill, the ability to understand and be understood by team members is crucial, so this has to be evaluated as objectively as possible, but two things should be kept in mind: 1) most often, the longer the employee works for you, the more his or her communications (writing and speaking) will continue to develop and improve, and 2) the longer the employee works for you, the more accustomed the rest of the team will become to his or her writing, speaking, and accent.  Having said this, successful communications being critical to your organization’s success, consider this carefully.  We (DyNexus Recruiting) periodically invest in accent mitigation training for foreign employees. It can be a great investment!

So, there you are.  Hiring foreign employees has its own risks and benefits.  Like every other issue in the hiring process it takes good thought, and a lot rides on making well thought out decisions.  But then again . . .

IF IT WAS EASY, CHILDREN WOULD BE DOING IT