While some global businesses were left flatfooted by the US’s recent decision to freeze further entries for workers with a H-1B visa, the impact of this on those already in the U.S was often considered an afterthought.
This has created difficulties for companies that are trying to invest in the US.
Many hot takes focused on the impact of curbing migration to counter the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet the details behind the change to policy and extending the freeze until the end of 2020 focused on bolstering the U.S. job market.
“Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy. But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”
The Impact of The New US Working Visas Ruling
The impact of the changes is widespread with many employees and employers left searching for options. The visa freeze now covers more than just the well-known H-1B visa, it also affects green card applications, with more than 170,000 people expected to be impacted by the hiatus.
The decision also affects:
- The L visa – often used by global companies for managers or the transfer of key roles;
- The H-2B visa – used for seasonal work;
- The J-1 short term exchange visa.
Talent from India is expected to be the most impacted by the freeze as more than 70% of H-1B visa holders in 2019 were from the country. Much of this talent is employed by US technology companies, according to The Economic Times.
While this impacts many people and businesses seeking to work in a great country, it also impacts US companies who rely on overseas workers.
Alternative Solutions to H-1B
With people and plans put on hold, the search for solutions is urgent. Thankfully, there are still a few solutions for those planning to expand their workforce and operations:
- E-3 visa – This visa is for Australians wasn’t detailed in the proclamation.
- TN visa – This is specifically for Mexicans and Canadians and has a role in the NAFTA/USMCA agreement. This is a solution for professors, lawyers, architects, engineers and economists.
- P visa – This visa is for the entertainment industry and covers artists, athletes and entertainers as well as their managers in some circumstances.
- E visa – This visa is for those starting new businesses, or purchasing an existing US business. It requires an investment of at least $150,000 along with other requirements. This visa isn’t viable for many due to the investment requirements.
While these temporary restrictions apply, companies are finding solutions. For example, countries like Canada are likely to see an increase in working visa requests as companies seek to place employees near the US and beyond the potential visa challenges.
Canada is also attracting new talent via its Global Talent Stream. This fast track immigration policy for workers with specialist skills, according to Fortune.
Given the apparent trend in visa denials under the Trump administration, the situation for visas may well change or be frozen again. In the meantime, many companies are looking for solutions for their employees, and countries to invest their time and money into.
For Expansion Advice You Can Trust, Consult with Experts.
With so much at stake, many companies will look to work with an employment solution service like an Employer of Record (EOR), who can place people in countries anywhere globally. The EOR will always act within the legal perimeters set by the government, but as experts, they will be able to guide a company to find the best solution for their company and employees.
About Elements Global Services:
Elements Global Services is an award-winning HR technology & services company. Elements provides employment solutions in over 160 countries – covering everything from payroll, benefits, HR, local compliance to visa & mobility. Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Elements has a global network of offices and employees delivering innovative solutions to its growing customer base. Elements’ Direct Employer of Record model helps companies expand, onboard, manage & pay employees worldwide. Visit elementsgs.com or LinkedIn for more information.