Majority of Companies Expect to Increase Foreign National Headcount

Despite some uncertainty over how the Biden administration might adjust the H-1B visa (and visas in general), a majority of companies expect their foreign national headcount to increase or stay the same next year.

Envoy Global, a global immigration services provider, came to that conclusion after surveying more than 500 HR professionals and hiring managers across the United States. While that’s not a huge pool of respondents, it nonetheless hints that the turbulence around visas over the past few years hasn’t curbed companies’ willingness to engage in the visa-application process.

Specifically, some 59 percent of respondents expected their foreign national headcount to increase next year, up from 53 percent in last year’s survey (and 46 percent the year before that). Some 96 percent said that sourcing foreign national employees was important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy, up from 93 percent the year before. 

Around 54 percent of employers said that lack of visa availability was a challenge under the Trump administration, which did its best to institute policies designed to curb visa use. Many of those policies slowed down visa processing times within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is likely one reason why 95 percent of employers surveyed by Envoy Global said that quicker USCIS processing times and expedited filings were their top requested changes of the U.S. immigration system. 

During the Trump administration, the denial rate for H-1B visa applications rose steadily before leveling off in fiscal year 2020. How the denial rate will adjust under the Biden administration is an open question. The U.S. Department of Labor currently wants public input on determining H-1B levels, suggesting that Biden is interested in potentially enacting a Trump-era proposal that would assign H-1B visas based on wages as opposed to a lottery. 

Higher wages could change how companies apply for H-1B visas. For example, it could force companies with smaller talent budgets to prioritize how many foreign nationals they try to sponsor. It could also majorly disrupt the budgets of the consulting and outsourcing firms that apply for thousands of H-1B visas, then subcontract those workers to other companies. Critics of the H-1B, who claim the visa is aggressively abused by companies, would no doubt be pleased by such a development. 

8 Responses to “Majority of Companies Expect to Increase Foreign National Headcount”

  1. It is obvious that these IT companies will hire more H1Bs. Productivity is at its highest ever, revenues skyrocketing, prestige of these companies doesn’t get harmed for hiring H1Bs and IT unemployment is lower than ever. It would be stupid not to hire more foreign talent.

  2. It is funny to see all these racist, GOP, republicans and proTrump always saying “we only want legal immigration, GET IN LINE!”

    ok, I will get in the H1b Line
    GOP: “no, not that line”

    Ok, then the H4 line
    GOP: “no, neither that line”

    Ok, what about the lottery green card line?
    GOP: “No way, Trump cancelled that line”

    Ehhhh…can I ask a family member to sponsor me?
    GOP: “No, not that line, that is only for Melania”

    You are a racist.
    GOP: “No way, just get in the line, if you can”

    • Jake_Leone

      Way to go Straw Man.

      There are some who are bigoted on either side of the H-1b debate.

      But there are many others that simply want reform in the H-1b and Green Card program, that benefits foreign workers, domestic workers, and the United States, at the same time.

      Most people (on either side of the debate) actually have moral/logical reasons they want to see change in the H-1b program.

      If we just implemented Trump’s change to a salary based allocation of H-1b visas. There wouldn’t be fewer H-1b visas. But the visas that are being used would, more likely, be moving towards bettering our technological edge in the United States.

      The Offshore Outsourcing companies don’t want to see a salary based allocation of H-1b visas. And Offshore Outsourcing companies don’t sponsor people for Green Cards (a prelude to citizenship). So literally, if we made it way more likely that H-1b visas would go to Silicon Valley companies (direct hires), we would actually increase the number of foreign immigrants converting to Green Cards and then eventual citizenship. That’s not racist position, that is actually as pro real immigration as you can be, in this issue.

      Instead, Biden has made a political football out of it. He has punted. And he is waiting for campaign donations to help him decide whether to implement a salary based allocation. No one, with money, wants to pay to see a salary based allocation.

      And the reason is clear in DOJ vs Facebook. That indictment, which was handed down after the election, gives us the data we need to understand this issue. Just go read it, while it is on the U.S. Justice Department website.

  3. Jake_Leone

    Look, we all agree, even the author of this article agrees that by prioritizing access to H-1b visas, based upon salary, is a way to get companies prioritize their applications, based upon actual talent.

    Richard Durbin (Democrat) and Charles Grassley (Republican) wrote to the Biden administration and asked that Biden not cancel the Trump executive order, requiring allocation of H-1b visas based upon salary. Biden did not listen.

    Big Tech does not actually care about H-1b visas. In the DOJ vs Facebook indictment (which was filed after the election) we know that Facebook actually finds 30x more local STEM/IT talent than it can hire. Big Tech companies are very desirable places to work, because they offer the kind of job security that will allow you to advance your career and (more importantly) qualify for that enormous home loan.

    In fact, I would wager, that Big Tech would rather all the H-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies (than switch to a salary based allocation). Because that saves Big Tech an enormous amount of money when they can outsource accounting, HR, sales, customer service, db administration, and remote VM support. Most H-1b visas are in fact being used to do mundane work.

    Top talent is expensive everywhere (except India, when you can find it in the fog of freshers). Engineers in Israel are at 80% the going rate as those in the United States. Engineers in Europe are at parity. Big Tech knows there is actually an over abundance of top local tech talent (again DOJ vs Facebook proves this).

    Big Tech also doesn’t really want to get in a bidding war with startups over H-1b visas. This will raise H-1b salaries for the 1-in-4 times a company in Silicon Valley actually ** wins ** an H-1b visa.

    In summary, the change to a salary based system will never happen. Because no one or company (that has the money) is willing to pay for it. Some lawsuits might, conveniently, go away (ex. DOJ vs Facebook) for the continuing silencing of conservative voices on social media.

    You are more likely to get money, by threatening Big Tech with the change to a Salary based allocation. I think Big Tech would be willing to pay to make sure such a change never happens.

  4. Every week, we read the same article, over and over again. There are plenty of qualified Americans for the positions offered by the largest companies yet they would rather not hire Americans. It’s really rather pathetic and our government looks the other way. It doesn’t matter which party is governing because what’s really governing are political contributions by the largest companies to get what they want. They already get out of paying their fair share of taxes but that is not enough for them.

    • After I retired as a Federal civil service scientist a few years back, I tried to get another job in the database/scientific field. After 400+ job applications, which produced 3 job interviews and no job offers, I gave in to retirement frivolity. Still, it grates my craw to hear computer companies complain about the quality of the recruitment pool. After seeing my competition at job fairs, the only downsides of these job applicants is their age – which is greater than their bosses – and their independence – which would cause them to quit if they were forced to work under “No pay, but good vibes” conditions.

  5. Time to atack american workers, the biggest expensive of IT is workforce. They will fight to reduce the cost (your salary) using any tool that they have. Sorry to say this, but the Dems ,the Rep and big techs are against us, there is nothing we can do about it. Sorry to say this to my fellow immigrants friends, but you ,high skill worker, will stay on H1B and the illigal immigrant (low skill worker) will get green card in the immigration reform. In some years that illigals will become citizen and you will still be on H1B.

  6. Why would the government do anything about it when they hire contracting companies that import workers into the country, instead of hiring citizens, and training our own? Reverse Citizens Unites/McCutcheon, take power away from the wealthy and corporations, get rid of the Electoral College, and vote the lackeys out of office if you want things to change!