Most Employers Will Increase Immigration Headcount This Year: Survey

A majority of employers expect their foreign-national headcount to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months, according to a new report on immigration trends from Envoy Global, an immigration-services provider that conducted a wide-ranging survey with The Harris Poll.

Specifically, 18 percent of employers said they would “significantly increase” that foreign-national headcount, followed by 35 percent who said they would “somewhat increase” it, and 32 percent who indicated that it would remain the same. A majority also said that their desired foreign talent was already in the United States, with 57 percent recruiting from U.S.-based universities.

Some 38 percent of companies are engaging in “immigration work” in order to secure foreign talent for high-skilled positions (such as technology jobs), eclipsing the 12 percent who are filling non-highly-skilled positions; another 40 percent are going through the process in order to secure a “more diverse workforce.”

Over the past few years, the federal government has systematically denied more and more H-1B visas, which many companies use to bring technologists into the U.S. from overseas. In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has pushed to end the H-4 EAD, which allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work, although that battle has been tied up in court. That has impacted not only technology companies, but also business-services and outsourcing firms that make lots of money by contracting “consultants” to other firms.

Some 38 percent of respondents to Envoy Global’s survey said that the visa application process had become more difficult, while 45 percent indicated that it had stayed somewhat the same; only 16 percent suggested that things have become easier. As you might expect, the uncertainty of outcomes has become the biggest pain point (41 percent) ahead of the aforementioned rise in application denials (38 percent) and lack of transparency in the process (34 percent).

The sample size for the survey was pretty small—some 433 HR professionals and hiring managers participated, hailing from a range of industries. Nonetheless, their answers provide some hints into how companies are dealing with immigration at this juncture.

Within tech, the rising denial rates hasn’t stopped business-services, consulting, and tech firms from trying to collect as many H-1B workers as possible. A recent analysis of data from the H-1B Salary Database shows that the average salary for those with an H-1B is pretty high in tech hubs such as New York and San Francisco:

Tech isn’t the only industry on the hunt for H-1B approvals, of course; some of the highest-paid visa holders are in the medical industry. For example, interventional cardiologists on the H-1B visa make an average salary of $423,052 (there were 266 filings for that position in 2019) while H-1B gastroenterologists pull down $403,504 (267 filings last year).

In any case, as we approach the opening of yet another H-1B filing season, it seems that employers are continuing to look to immigration as a way to fulfill their desired headcount.

13 Responses to “Most Employers Will Increase Immigration Headcount This Year: Survey”

  1. Why would they have to bring in foreign workers? We still have American workers idled from the AT&T layoffs.
    Call your senators and congressmen and ask them to explain why they are not advocating for us on this issue. Make sure they understand the issue!

    • Yes-Yes-Yes – 100 times Yes!
      Alert your congressmen/congresswomen of the harm the H1B visa has done to to U.S. wages (especially hard hit is the Technology industry). It was never intended to be a replacement for the American workforce. We have plenty of skilled Technology people. It was meant to temporarily allow people from outside the U.S. to come for a limited time for a skill we did not have. We have plenty of Technology skilled people that are American citizens. Now what it has done to the economic wage scale is turned it upside down. Technology people that have been in the workforce and worked their way up to a certain salary rate have seen it slowly decline in the last 20 years due to huge influx of people who are willing to be paid salary rates that are good on India’s wage scale. So as a baseline example: U.S. Tech person (let’s just say they were highly in demand whatever they did – Software Manager, Developer, etc.) that made $90/hr in the year 2000 (with 20 years of experience). It would have been a good middle-to upper middle class wage level/mortgage/etc. However, in the last 20 years since that time, a person today (again in high demand – Software Manager, Developer etc.) has slowly seen salary rates regress – to a level well below the $90/hour – (I would conservatively say as low as $60/hr) – due to the huge influx of people outside this country). That has never happened to our economy/wage structure before! U.S. citizens that went to college and worked to achieve a certain economic level of stability are now being toppled from their jobs, replaced by H1B’s and turning our economic scales upside down. The other issue is Offshore work – which also is a huge drain on our jobs and thus salary levels.

  2. Joe Labellarte

    …Continued from my previous post (pardon me for doing that – but it was simply due to space limitations constraint on each post).

    …Not only is Offshore affecting our salaries but I see an even greater danger for the firm that decides to offshore their IT and to our American economic viability:
    A company’s competitive edge is based on the skills and intellectual property they have acquired over the years. In a word, it is “Strategic” to the very existence of that firm. Before the internet existed (pre-offshore) and IT was done “in-house” – companies did whatever they could to ensure/protect their corporate data assets (software, systems, etc) were safe, secure and certainly not visible to anyone outside of their firm (yes there certainly were consultants – however, they were from U.S. firms/citizens who were well within the sphere of our American constitutional/legal system).
    Now with the use of Offshoring, a firm’s data (strategic intellectual property) is accessed by people that are not only not employees of that firm, but also are people found anywhere in the world, who with the click of a mouse/blink-of-an-eye, can copy that intellectual/strategic property and the next thing you know 2 or 3 years down the road another company(s) has suddenly sprung up – and that U.S. company that offshored their technology is wondering – where did all this competition come from ?
    – why are we losing market share at such an alarming rate? (and never knowing that their intellectual systems was simply copied).
    So to conclude, this offshoring model is simply damaging to the very fabric of the future/existence/viability of our American economic way of life.

  3. Why preferentially hire foreigners from US universities but reject US citizens graduating from these same degree programs at the very same Universities? You realize, this is making other countries rich & crumbling the very foundation (the people) who comprise the US. Non-ending profits & ever decreasing costs forever are not sustainable

  4. VinoTinto

    I always pass every step of the hiring process until an Indian gets involved. Next thing that happens is you find out you are not a good “cultural” fit…….or they start firing off tech questions on arcane subjects they find surfing the internet while in the actual interview…….miss one or 2 of the Indian’s questions and BAM!, the interview is over. Then you find out they hired some other Indian who was “referred” for the position. It’s happening to millions of Americans in STEM. It’s time to outlaw H1B’s, OPT’s, H4’s etc.

  5. Paul B

    “A majority also said that their desired foreign talent was already in the United States, with 57 percent recruiting from U.S.-based universities.”
    Infuriating, and total BS. As someone who graduated fro one and went back for another degree, there are ample US citizens, even white people like me, who are more than capable of doing the work requested by employers. There is nothing special, except in few cases, about foreign talent. In fact quite a number of them have shown their inability to work with other nationalities. That’s something they picked up from their own culture, not ours.

  6. Totally agree with Joe and Vino Tinto. Wages have been stagnant for years due to foreign workers. Interviews are rigged, it’s called reverse discrimination. Even if you get hired, and most of your co-workers are Indian, it’s a miserable environment when you are non-Indian. Talk in non-English all the time, refuse to assimilate. Sure they are some nice ones. But those are the exception to the rule. Foreigners in general always hire their own, and when called out on their unethical practice, they cry racism. Clever how they use the American legal system, which protects us all, against U.S. citizens.

  7. Warren D Serkin

    I find it absolutely disgusting and outrageous that companies in this country are allowed to get away with hiring low income workers from overseas while ignoring well qualified workers who are US citizens. Something need to be done to eliminate the H1B visa scam

  8. Joe Labellarte

    Cindy – you make a very good point – “You realize, this is making other countries rich & crumbling the very foundation (the people) who comprise the US. Non-ending profits & ever decreasing costs forever are not sustainable!”

    Milly – yes we need to contact our local & state representatives – now is good time as folks are running in elections and hopefully have an open/listening/understanding mindset.
    Piker – agree – reverse discrimination.

    I just want to add something I found by the actual author of the H1B bill.
    It was created by Bruce Morrisson in 1990. Below is an excerpt about Bruce Morrisson from his biography in Wikipedia:
    “… He was the House author of the Immigration Act of 1990, one of only two major immigration bills in the country’s history to increase legal immigration. The legislation increased the focus of immigrant admission toward high skilled workers on the H1-B visa. In an interview with Bill Whitaker on CBS News’ 60 Minutes broadcast on March 19, 2017, Morrison commented: “The H-1B has been hijacked as the main highway to bring people from abroad and displace American workers.”
    As you can see the H1B visa was not created with idea that it be a replacement for the American workforce. I would go as far as saying,
    I highly doubt that it would ever have been signed into law if that was the justification for starting this new type of visa.