Foreign Workers Good for Business

December 21, 2009 ( – World business leaders say that hiring foreign workers continues to be good for business and the economy, according to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Western Union.

A press release said more than three in four corporate leaders surveyed (76%) say that foreign workers have a positive impact on the economy and nearly as many (71%) agree that foreign workers provide competitive advantages. Further, more than half (57%) say that the recession has not prompted changes to the hiring practices of foreign workers.

According to the press release, contrary to perceptions that more stringent immigration regulations will safeguard jobs for local candidates and boost local economies, global business leaders overwhelmingly believe that the world’s mobile workforce meets critical employment needs.

Eight out of 10 executive respondents report hiring foreign workers because they have the skills to fill specific staffing needs (79%) and enhance the skills of the full workforce (81%). Seventy-one percent report that as part of the workforce, foreign workers aid the ability of companies to compete in a global market where international operators are also vying to provide those products and services.

Nearly nine in 10 survey respondents (88%) indicate that there are one or more significant challenges to hiring foreign workers. More than one in four (27%) report that current regulations make it difficult to hire a sufficient number of foreign workers; while two in five (40%) say it is difficult to hire foreign workers for low-skilled jobs. The limited number of quotas/visas is cited as one of the most significant challenges to employing the mobile workforce, followed by a process that is too complicated and costly.

“While businesses clearly see the benefits of an open labor market, very few of them are actually involved in advocating publicly for it,” said Hikmet Ersek, Western Union chief operating officer-designate, in the announcement.

Worldwide, only 15% of executives say they have asked their government for more open immigration employment laws. According to the survey, fewer than one in 10 (8%) are advocating for migration processes or programs under their own company name.

Survey respondents included 501 global business leaders, of which 43% were C-level executives.

More information about the Western Union Global Workforce Impact Survey is at