Leveraging Foreign Talent to Meet Challenges

Is your business facing recruitment challenges? Does your company have positions that it has been unable to fill over the long term? If so, you are not alone.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that declining labor force participation has resulted in a shortage of close to 3.4 million workers nationwide. Businesses in all industries are experiencing a dramatic shortage of workers. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates that 200,000 new RNs will be needed each year to fill newly created positions and replace retiring nurses. The American Geosciences Institute projects that the U.S. faces a shortage of 135,000 geologists, bedeviling the oil and gas and mining industries. 54% of civil contractors report difficulty finding qualified civil and structural engineers. These are but a few examples of the shortages faced by U.S. employers. Beyond these skills gaps, workers are experiencing burnout and pressing for remote work options. Rural areas are also experiencing a shrinking of the overall labor pool. All of these challenges are creating headwinds for recruiters.

With workers – skilled and unskilled – in short supply, U.S. companies have the opportunity to explore the wide pool of foreign talent to fill their workforce gaps. By looking further afield, employers have the opportunity to source skills and workers that are not readily available locally. While sometimes long processing times with the Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service generally mean that U.S. companies cannot use foreign talent to meet immediate recruitment needs, a variety of foreign workers are available to meet long-term workforce planning needs.

U.S. immigration laws allow a wide variety of workers to enter the country to work, from unskilled workers to skilled workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Options vary from short-term visas for temporary laborers to longer-term opportunities for skilled workers to permanent residency opportunities for workers across the skills continuum. While each type of visa comes with its own set of requirements and fees, each type offers the opportunity for U.S. companies to supplement their American workforce with talented workers from across the globe.

Though the immigration system can be byzantine and off-putting, successfully navigating the system may lead you to the right candidate for the right position.

This article first appeared in The Journal Record on October 21, 2022, and is reproduced with permission from the publisher.