Companies’ Visa Plans Unchanged Despite Rise of Remote Work

The rise of remote work won’t impact many companies’ decisions around sponsoring more foreign nationals for employment, according to a new study by Envoy Global, a global immigration services provider. 

Envoy Global based its report on surveys with more than 500 HR professionals and hiring managers across the United States. Despite the widespread adoption of remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which in theory will make it easier for companies to find specialized talent wherever it exists in the U.S., some 41 percent of respondents said they’d likely sponsor more foreign nationals for employment.

Meanwhile, 30 percent said that remote work won’t impact their sponsorship levels, and 28 percent said they’d likely sponsor fewer foreign nationals for employment (another one percent weren’t sure). 

If increased remote work opens up a bigger pool of domestic talent, why do many of these companies feel the need to pull in technologists and other specialized workers from overseas? In the study, 57 percent of those who said they’d sponsor more foreign nationals due to remote work “indicated that it is because they still could not find enough skilled talent even with fully remote work.”

In a worrisome twist for domestic technologists, of the 28 percent of respondents who said they’d sponsor fewer foreign nationals due to increased remote work, some 45 percent “said they would outsource the roles or move the jobs outside of the U.S.” That’s almost as many who said they’d hire more domestically (54 percent).

HR managers also indicated they’re interested in reforming some aspects of the current immigration system. “The majority of respondents also said both the Department of Labor (DOL)’s final rule to increase prevailing wage levels and changes to the H-1B specialty occupation visa program would have a positive impact on their organizations (69 percent and 71 percent, respectively),” the report noted, “underscoring support for certain immigration reforms.”

The U.S. Department of Labor is currently asking for public input on determining H-1B levels, which hints that the Biden administration is interested in potentially enacting a Trump-era proposal to assign H-1B visas based on wages as opposed to a lottery. That’s in addition to Biden’s Citizenship Act of 2021, which would prioritize visas based on wages, as well as give both the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor the ability to determine the appropriate wage levels (provided that Act actually becomes law, of course).

H-1B visas tied to higher wages would disrupt the business model of consulting and outsourcing firms, which generally pay H-1B workers lower average salaries than technology companies. It would also force companies with smaller talent budgets to prioritize how many foreign nationals they potentially try to sponsor. That could lead to quite a bit of debate and commentary should this higher-wage requirement continue to build momentum.  

7 Responses to “Companies’ Visa Plans Unchanged Despite Rise of Remote Work”

  1. jake_leone

    One possible reason why the Meme of work from home is okay now, will not affect h-1b hiring plans. Is because hiring has always been about nationality. Specifically don’t hire Americans, instead hire compliant foreign workers, that are tied to the job.

    Facebook (in Facebook vs DOJ) admits it finds 30x more local STEM/IT workers than it can hire. That indictment is online. If you have any evidence that you can present to the DOJ that refutes this information (again provided to the DOJ, from Facebook, under threat of Federal obstruction of justice charges). Then you should provide that information to the DOJ, immediately. This indictment has been on the books for 5 months (and it was entered post election, so it wasn’t a political stunt). Facebook has yet to issue a rebuttal or counter claim.

    I suspect Facebook will hope that Biden will (in exchange for continued silencing of conservative voices) try to drop the case quietly or settle for fraction of its value. And the value of this case (based on prior, similar cases) is 100,000$ per count, this indictment has 2600+ counts.

    We have to realize that Facebook intentionally protected foreign workers from local competition. And that wasn’t 1 or 2, better qualified local candidates per foreign worker (by Facebook’s own admission in the DOJ indictment), it was 30x more better qualified local candidates than foreign workers.

    Big Tech is not actually having any trouble finding local candidates for their STEM/IT positions. And that is because everyone wants to work for a big stable company. The companies that are having issues finding workers are the start-up companies, where the job is contract and/or lasting only a few months.

    Big Tech knows it can lie about a mythical STEM worker shortage all it wants to the Press and to the Public. But they also know, they can’t lie to Federal investigators. And what was told to Federal investigators (in the DOJ vs Facebook indictment) is complete the opposite of what is said by them publicly about STEM/IT worker availability in the United States, hey in Silicon Valley.

    Facebook gets hundreds of STEM/IT resumes for every job it posts on the Facebook jobs website (Facebook’s admission in the DOJ indictment). Facebook, after interviewing the candidates says it is finding 30 or more local qualified candidates per STEM/IT position (Facebook’s admission in the DOJ indictment). Facebook says (DOJ indictment), it would hire the 29 local STEM/IT candidates/(per job ad) it finds but can’t because there is only one position (available to Americans apparently). Facebook NEVER forwards the resumes of the better qualified local STEM/IT candidates to the hiring manager involved in the foreign worker Green Card perm process (DOJ indictment). Facebook says the local STEM/IT candidates (it is unable to hire because it doesn’t have jobs, haha right!) are better qualified than the foreign workers involved in the Green Card PERM process (DOJ Indictment).

    Facebook, literally, discriminates based upon nationality, and that is why there is a strong possibility that the reason why your survey found that companies are not changing their H-1b hiring plans, due to Covid work from home protocols. Is because of discrimination based upon national origin.

    Look, companies prefer an indentured workforce. They want engineers who are tied to the company and to the job. You can see that plainly in the Email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs in the Silicon Valley no poaching scandal. Ordinary Americans have rights, that we simply cannot resign. If foreign workers exercise those rights, they risk returning to abject poverty or going to the back of the line in the Green Card process.

    It is discrimination, by Federal Government statute which defines discrimination. To discriminate against someone because they have a better capability to exercise their rights than say a foreign worker (or any other person). That means that Facebook is practicing discrimination based upon National origin, in the United States, today.

    Your rights are simply not something that employers can use to determine whether you are a better/worse candidate for a STEM/IT job, in the United States.

    That’s just the reality, we need to be writing about and discussing.

    • Other than Trump, and he only paid lip service to the problem, there are no conservatives caring about this issue, in fact, no one cares about this issue at all. Which is sad. It just shows that these companies can make political contributions to make the problem go away.

      There are many American candidates, trained outside the mainstream path of the college who are looking to start their careers in IT, and in many cases, they are able to by getting positions in smaller companies who can’t compete with FAANG for candidates.

      As automation takes over more jobs, this issue will become more pronounced since America doesn’t seem inclined to offer a monthly income to those displaced by automation. Hopefully, that will change but seems doubtful.

    • Sad you hear more of the truth about what’s really going on in the comments section of some article on Dice that maybe 500 people will ever read, than you will ever hear from any political party, any politicians, the Chamber of Commerce, or our education system!

      The Republican party and Chamber of Commerce are 1000% pro-business and pro-richer getting richer. Their undying allegiance is towards the 1/10%, then to the 1%ers, then trickles down from there. Somewhere in the upper-middle class/poor rich class then they stop (people making 250k and above). So anything that hurts everybody below that line they could care less.

      The Democrats, are just as greedy, and slaves to raising money, special interests, corporations, etc. as are the CON-servatives. And the far-left thinks nobody from anywhere in the world for any reason should not be able to plop themselves down in America and just do whatever. Take a job, never learn English, send all their money to another country so contribute very little to our economy, whatever. These people trump the middle class, working poor, etc. that are getting screwed by the greedy corporations doing whatever they can to squeeze more money out of their already outrageous profits.

      So we are constantly told we need more education. Now with the pandemic the narrative is nobody wants to work. It goes on and on. Corporations, again saving even more money, do not train employees anymore, put ridiculous requirements on the job postings, and so on. Then cry ‘booo whooo we can’t find Americans’. Then amazingly bring in an H1B. Like previous comments, they have total control of them, pay far less, all the worries of having to hire a stupid American and treat them at least 1/2 way decently are a non-factor.

      Their alternative to the H1B racket is the contractor scam that’s taken a stronghold over the last 20 years or so.

      You can’t tell me about the H1B’s or even worse just straight up outsourcing groups overseas. I have been in IT 20+ years and had my share of both. More stories than I can remember of working with H1B(s) on a project, or cross-department, etc., and they were so inadequately capable of doing the job. Three PhD’s from Mumbai State or whatever, and struggling with the most basic skills of whatever their area was, DBA, systems, network, Dev, etc.

  2. Great comments Jake and JT. The government is doing it too. They uses contracting companies that import labor, while American engineers and grads can’t get jobs. People from disadvantaged areas should be educated to fill these positions so that they can better their lives. This is why corporations are NOT people, should never be in control of government, and why Citizens United must be reversed. The citizens must stand up and take back the reins.

  3. It is obvious that companies will hire more H1Bs. Productivity is at its highest ever, as well as revenues and the prestige of these companies doesn’t get harmed for hiring H1Bs.

  4. Bradley A Ross

    As the system is currently designed and used by the Indian outsourcing firms, the H1B visas are assigned on a lottery basis. That means that you are getting the average Indian programmer. Given the amount of cheating on tests in India, I wouldn’t count too much on the quality of the average programmer. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/mar/20/relatives-scale-buildings-indian-students-cheat-exams-video) The American outsourcing firms aren’t any better. Why do you think so many software projects fail? I have been on a number of projects where the only reason the software passes testing is that the management lies and the outsourcing firms are willing to join in the lies. I saw a memo from the Indian outsourcing firm wrote a letter to all employees saying that his firm had the reputation of signing off on quality reports sent to the top American management that were totally fictitious in order to make the lower management (the people who could terminate the contract) look better, and this had to stop. Of course, it wasn’t clear if he was demanding a halt to the practice or to stop the damage to the reputation.

    If you want to see some real problems, look at British Airwayshttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1851055-how-far-will-ba-go-outsourcing-trends.html https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/30/british-airways-ba-owner-drops-value-it-meltdown There were many other articles. Then there was the rollout of Obamacare, the current software scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations, and many others.

    A major reasons the businesses are being hacked in the United States and other countries is because incompetent programmers are being hired because they are cheap.