Companies Sweetening H-1B Deals by Offering Green Cards: Study

As H-1B hiring continues to dog frustrated domestic tech pros, a new study shows companies are offering green cards to foreign workers who agree to come stateside via the visa program.

Envoy Global, a company focused on helping companies sponsor and manage work visas globally, recently published a study showing 66 percent of queried employers say they offer green cards to employees with work visas. The same percentage say they begin the green card process on behalf of H-1B and other visa holders the first year they’re employed with the company.

“Leading companies think about immigration strategically. For example – companies that offer foreign nationals benefits that allow them to remain in the U.S. longer are finding more success in retaining foreign talent,” says Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global. “With heightened political scrutiny comes heightened anxiety among foreign nationals looking to work in the U.S. Companies that are able to provide their employees peace of mind by offering them a clear path to a permanent green card are getting ahead of the competition in retaining the best talent.”

Costs aren’t spared, either. Envoy Global found 80 percent of employers who sponsor foreign employees via a visa program like H-1B pay for all fees related to obtaining a green card. Although companies typically have a ‘payback’ agreement if a green card worker quits before the agreed-upon employment time has concluded, less than half (49 percent) require continued employment for H-1B and similarly visa’ed employees.

Envoy points to competition as a main driver for companies offering green cards to visa employees. “Now more than ever, foreign national employees are looking for the peace of mind and security associated with long-term sponsorship,” writes Envoy. “When choosing between competing offers for positions in the U.S., a path to permanent residence is a powerful incentive.”

In addition to the 66 percent who start the green card process within the first year of service, an additional 28 percent of companies hiring H-1B and other visa employees say they initiate the permanent residence process within five years of hiring a foreign worker, drawing a direct path to citizenship.

If this sounds alarming, it shouldn’t. The Trump administration has been effective with regard to reforming the H-1B program, but its policies also send mixed signals. Earlier this year, Trump suggested the H-1B visa program may open up a direct path to citizenship to “bring both simplicity and certainty” for foreign-born tech employees staying stateside.

Elsewhere, outsourcing and consulting firms that handle H-1B visas are suing the government to open the floodgates. Over 40 lawsuits claim U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is far too stringent in approving H-1B visa applications, and would like regulations relaxed.

46 Responses to “Companies Sweetening H-1B Deals by Offering Green Cards: Study”

  1. Of course (domestic) companies sponsor their H-1B visa workers for a green card. That’s how the scam works. Once a company sponsors an H-1B worker, that worker cannot change jobs without risking his place in the green card line. In other words, if the H-1B worker finds another company to transfer his H-1B visa to, the processing of the worker’s green card needs to start from the beginning again. Waits for green cards could last years. No H-1B worker is going to risk it. So the sponsoring company now has a worker who is stuck. Think of what a benefit that is to the company. No risk of a worker quitting in the middle of a project. No need to give him a raise. No ability to give the worker a promotion. Complete exploitation.

    • JoeIsWrong

      ” the processing of the worker’s green card needs to start from the beginning again.”
      – No, it does not. As long as the new job is 50% or more similar to the old job, it does not. Which makes sense, since H1-b is given out to specialty occupations that need specialized training or education.

      An H1-b holder with an approved I-140 is one of the most portable foreign workers in the US.

      • Yes it does, After H1B transfer to a new employer, only thing remains is the priority date, the employer needs to petition perm and 140 again, which is a huge risk and hassle, I have been stuck for years, now Trump made it even harder because my major was not Computer Science 20 years ago.

        USA is no longer friendly for high tech immigrants because it is tooooooo risky !!! I was welcomed in 2011, and queued waiting for green card, now scrutinized.
        Young men should go to Canada to get citizenships first before having kids, when you have kids, you are weaker than the illegals who do not even speak English !!!

  2. IT SHOULD BE STOPPED!
    U.S. companies want these workers because they are cheap and they dont have to offer benefits, not because they have a skill set that is any better than a U.S. worker. That being said- coountries from which the BULK of these H1B/Greencard workers need to start focusing on building their own economies and the value of their currency, afterall, this is the only reason companies find Indian workers attractive at all. The value of the Dollar vs. the Rupee is about 70 to 1. Funny isnt it? You do t see U.S. companies clammering to import a bunch U.K workers do you? The want workers from an LCR (Low Cost Region) Build your own economy instead of running the game of lowest bidder.

    • BojoIsWrong

      WRONG!

      “Build your own economy” — That’s exactly what Indian companies are doing. Companies in US, EU, UK etc are entering into contracts with Indian companies with Indian employees to deliver services. This is of course building Indian economy. Funny no one blames the companies that go into these contracts but the person on H1B who delivers is the evil.

      • I do blame the contracts. I married an immigrant who was NOT an H1B visa She has been working towards her green card since 2011. When we married four years ago, her status got even more twisted and they delayed her green card even more. By the way, my Irish ancestors came to this country without an H1B visa (they did not exist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). My Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors were here before the US became a country. Still, there ARE other ways to immigrate to the US without an H-1B. If you don’t like the process, don’t use it. In fact, we should get rid of it going forward and make people immigrate the same way regardless of whether they have ‘needed technical skills’ or not. No more sponsorship, no more fraud, and no moreindentured servitude for the workers. It really would be for the best.

      • Indian consulting companies rely on most of their business from corporations that are headquartered in other (more developed) countries (primarily The United States).

        The Indian consulting companies set up shop in the US, and they become a conduit for bringing Indian labor to the US.

        Contrarily, when a US company sets up shop in India, they don’t use it as an opportunity for American workers to work there. They hire the locals (Indians).

        So, what is India contributing to the US economy? Not a damn thing. You go from country to country and subsist on wages earned from working for foreign businesses in Europe and the US (as if Indians are the only nation in the world that understands technology and IT). What a joke!

  3. Not true. H-1B visa holders can change jobs and keep their priority date for their permanent residence application. They do not lose any time at all. They do need to refile with the new employer, but they are not penalized and sent to the “back of the line”. H-1B visas and green cards, in most ways, are portable and not a barrier to transfer.

  4. Pragmatist

    I am tired of this notion that immigrant workers are underpaid for their work. It is not true, big corporations, such as Google, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, etc, all pay same salary for the similar positions to all its employees. In cases mid of mid to lower level corporations, they pay based on the type of the job. For example, It is not prudent to pay 90000 for software tester. If you demand higher pay for work that does not actually require a lot of intellectual input, you will not be recruited when somebody is doing it for a cheaper cost, which is how the free market works. Better strategy would be to take the job with whatever salary they offer and prove that you are indispensable to the company. If you achieve that, the offers will come to you. Finally, less partying and more working in high school and college will go a long way towards having a better carrier.

    • The wage rules for H-1B and green card sponsorship are broken down into wage Levels I, II, III and IV, with Level III being the median. For software developers, the most common type of foreign worker on H-1B, the green card data show the following percentages of foreign workers at Levels I or II making below-median wages: Amazon 91%; Facebook 91%; and Google 96%. These firms, putatively in the vanguard of advanced technology and certainly in the vanguard in Capitol Hill lobbying regarding H-1B, are paying almost all of their foreign workers – ostensibly, the “best and brightest” – wages below the median for the given region.

    • We need to do like the NRA did a few years ago.
      Call out 4-6 traitor congressmen who enable H1B abuse, Pick from both parties so we can’t be divided and then get them un-elected. Congress fears the NRA because they stick together and defend their turf. WE DON’T AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNTIL WE GET POLITICALLY ACTIVE.

      Keep in mind every American who is displaced by H1B person is not able to pay mortgage, shop locally, is afraid to spend. You start messaging every local business that your congressman is aiding and abetting this, things WILL change.
      Start writing on your currency, NOT H1B as you spend.

      PS H1B is a fraud and was exposed a couple years ago when Disney tried to replace Americans with H1B visa workers for HELP DESK jobs. Really??

      • United States Tech Workers MUST organize and pursue remedies via the court system.

        ITServe Alliance a lobbying group that supports the interests of Indian Consulting companies based in the US, US Tech Consulting companies (who hire mostly Indians), and the US Corporations who utilize these companies. These so-called consulting firms exploit their Indian consultants and prevent US tech workers from competing for tech jobs. ITServe Alliance‘s board members and lobbyists are all Indians with the exception of one person (see https://www.itserve.org/about#).

        Here are some immediate actions you can take to get involved:

        1) Follow “Save Jobs USA” at http://saveamericanitjobs.org and on Facebook

        2) Tell your story re: Job Discrimination (based on National Origin) or Visa Abuse and Visa Fraud by emailing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at ReportH1BAbuse@USCIS.DHS.gov

        3) Call the EEOC if you have a story/complaint re: discrimination based on your nation of origin (this includes US Citizens). US Tech Departments consist primarily of Indians (this is nothing new). Tech Depts. in the United States are consistently breaking Federal Employment Law (set forth by the EEOC) by passing up and/or laying off employees who are citizens of other countries (including US citizens).

        4) Call your US Senators and Congressional Representatives and tell them your story.

        When telling your story, PLEASE REFRAIN from using any demeaning or racist language (for example: instead of saying “Indian”, utilize the phrase, “Foreign Worker”… except in cases where discrimination has occurred based on your national origin). Be smart, professional, and refrain from emotional rants. Tell your story by relying on the facts.

        I don’t know about you, but I am tired of sitting back and being a victim. We have a window of opportunity here. It’s time to fight back. Let’s organize and bring it on !!! The time is NOW !!! No more complaining… TAKE ACTION !!!

  5. This is slavery of the 21st century. Questions the lawmakers need to answer
    1. Why should a person who has worked and paid income , social security, Medicare taxes continually not have the option to apply a green card by himself perhaps after 5 years or so of continuous employment
    2. Whatever laws are being passed just are lipstick on the pig.. – why can’t lawmakers enact a law that will not allow anybody other than actual employers from applying for H1b visas.. – meaning no more body shopping companies.. people who get low cost people on H1b and take a cut for having placed them – why dies the law support this pimping of workers.. – ??

    The lawmakers don’t want to understand this. Come elections everyone wants to talk about promoting legal immigration .. but they don’t know what they mean..

  6. Trust me, we know the companies are at fault here and you do need a reasonable level of skill including including english proficiency to enter American markets. Thats companies like Infosys and Syntel send their candidates to tech- bootcamps (accelerated learning for programming languages etc) to get them up to speed, the rest of the advantage they rely on is the long – term low cost. If any other LCR was turnkey ready and believe me corporations are on the look out for next one, then they too would be under-bidding the competition.

    Dont think for one minute you can confuse the issue here, India has had a focused national interest in taking advantage of their weak currency. Its about cheap labor that U.S. corporations can drop any time they want. Raise your rates to a competitive level and you may very well see Vietnam as the next “Tech Utopia”

    • @Bojo, you are addressing only one side of this issue. How low cost outsourcing firms have displaced high wage workers in US in last 15-20 years. It is true. But there is a pretty visible side effect no one ever talks about. For instance, how many of those displaced workers are still unemployed? I would bet my paycheck – almost none! There is another interesting fact everyone ignores. Every year 85,000 H1B are issued and almost 85% go to tech sector. For many years that number was actually double. So millions of H1Bs in last two decades and the job market in Tech is still REALLY tight. Why is that. I will tell you why…when lower cost outsourcing firms came in to play, more companies could afford tech upgrades. Couple that with consumer tech evolution, more jobs were created in USA – specially in high paying R&D. Today many employers have to leave positions open for months before they find someone. In fact, number of techies in India and China have grown over 50 million in last two decades. MOST have jobs over there. Not to account for millions more around the world. The concept that there is “limit” on these jobs with talent has been debunked for years. Tech jobs are based on value you bring to the table and if someone can do your job cheaper, be ready to add value to your portfolio!

      Anyways, I hope that fellow American get away from “victim” mentality and welcome talent and competition. It keeps you on toes and fresh! (free markets yay..)

  7. I stand by my statement that an H-1B worker cannot change jobs without risking his place in the green card line. At the very least the foreign worker will need to go through a new PERM approval, which can take a couple of years. The PERM petition could be rejected, which could be huge trouble. Plenty of reason for the worker to stay put in his current job.

    The H-1B organization Immigrant Voice has stated this many times, including in testimony to Congress, and it was noted in the NRC report commissioned by Congress. Even U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has mentioned it.

  8. >>That’s how the scam works.
    May be, sometimes.
    But generalizing this shows a lack of understanding. Top US companies hire and promote American and H1B workers based on the talent and business needs. The CEOs of Microsoft, Google, and several other big companies came on H1B.
    If the companies wanted to save money, they would open offices in other countries, which they do. Many American companies by the way have off-shore development centers where they employ more people than they employ in the US. Its a global workplace folks.

    • “Global workplace” is just corporate speak for getting cheap labor. And dont act confused here – American companies are trying to open as many cheap service centers and offices overseas as they can.

  9. “Thats companies like Infosys and Syntel send their candidates to tech- bootcamps (accelerated learning for programming languages etc) to get them up to speed”

    Why don’t these companies do the same for American workers? Why do they have to get candidates from overseas and train them in bootcamps?

    • Because H1b workers are cheap! Don’t act like you don’t understand this. Companies are doing everything they can to NOT hire U.S. workers. The typical H1b visa worker makes much less than a U.S. worker. This is why they rent apartments to four of them at a time, this is why H1b workers will also share a vehicle together, because they make considerably less than U.S. workers. Thise who defend this program really need to understand that is is because the H1b is less expensive – not because they are more qualified.

  10. Actually job market is really hot for H/E/L Visas,OPT EAD/H4 EAD/TN etc. Some post job ads per rules but mostly filled by existing employees referring to their friends and employers. File Perm/I140 etc and green card/citizenship and enjoy all benefits. It is H1B Cap season now and you will figure it soon how hot the market for them by looking at number of cases going to filed. Most h1b s are getting approved but lawsuits filed to approve all h1bs. that’s big joke. Political parties gets funding so Citizens helpless. At least hire only US born citizens in government jobs including schools to protect US and to block spreading their native country’ corruption practice.

  11. I’m really sick of this whole H1B nonsense. The employers get American workers by having us compete against foreign workers here in America and by offshoring our jobs to huge offices in India and elsewhere. And, then, we have to redo their work because they can’t seem to understand English. I don’t see Trump doing anything. He’s full of hot air.

  12. I’m really sick of this whole H1B nonsense and an abuse to all US labor. I’m a veteran with a degree in Information Systems Management and can’t get a job because of all the competition from offshore. Get with it libs your time is coming when your children will live with you until you die

    • That is not how H1B works, and not how employment works.
      If the company drags out a process long enough, they will lose an employee with 3-6 year experience with them. Who would want that?
      Plus, H1B is transferable. Employee will find someone else to renew it with.

      • “They will lose an employee with 3-6 year experience with them. Who would want that?”

        Mark, that’s funny (and so naive)… soon you will learn that even foreign workers are replaceable.

  13. “They will lose an employee with 3-6 year experience with them. Who would want that?”

    Mark, that’s funny (and so naive)… soon you will learn that even foreign workers are replaceable.

  14. GSmiley

    All I know is that I work at a Fortune 500 company where the H1B program is extensively used purely as a cost-saving measure, and has nothing at all to do with “highly skilled workers”. There are periodic waves of layoffs in IT, 10 or 20 workers at a time, mostly older ones. The layoffs come with a severance package (typically one week of pay for each year of service) but there is a catch — in order to collect the payout, you need to stick around long enough to train the H1B that is replacing you and sign an NDA.

  15. All of you have a reason, but you have not all the true.

    I started as H1B , 20 years ago. yes 20 years ago.
    Still today after going back to my country for 5 years and back, I am still in H1B, I have been renew the H1B 15 times, so base on my experience I couls say:
    1. H1B is a way to bring good professionals at low price. How long it last dependes who hired you.
    2. Big 500 fortune companies, keep workers for 6 years and only in year 5 they start green card process, they don’t want to loss the investment. Good professional, dedicated and cheap.
    3. Small companies are better to get the green card, but the risk is they fire you, you need to start the I-140 with other company, and look for new job with H1B, you have few months, if not you need to leave the country and start over.
    4. Consulting company see the business opportunities specially with India and China where green card process take 15 years maybe, so they have good professionals, start the I-140 and wait to get $$$ out of the need of the immigrant.
    Solution
    H1B should be granted from government, independent of the companies, after few years the professional has been proved he/she can work, pay taxes and adapt to the US, they can be eligible for green card and then citizen

    I hope intelligent people start looking positively solutions and stop criticizes anybody who say something different. cheers