Survey Finds Visa Process Biggest Challenge for Recruiting Foreign Nationals

May 4, 2006 ( - One of the most common reasons for not recruiting foreign nationals is the lengthy visa process required to work in the US, according to a recent survey.

Even though 29% of HR professionals say they recruit foreign nationals because they cannot find US workers with the necessary skills, 52% say they avoid recruiting and hiring outside the US because of the lengthy process required for an employee to work here legally, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management that looked at immigration and workforce readiness issues.

When asked why they recruited and hired foreign nationals, 30% say they recruited candidates as part of a domestic search and later learned the candidate was a foreign national; 14% said they could not find US workers with the necessary degrees; 11% were global organizations; 8% could not find US workers willing to do the work; and 2% recruiting was part of a diversity effort.

Sixty-four percent cited delays caused by processing visas and green card sponsorship as one of the challenges when hiring and recruiting foreign nationals; 55% said the process was too complex; 52% cited the length of time required to process petition; 43% say the number of visas available are too few; 42% cited expensive processing fees; 30% said cost was an issue; and 29% say the time is too lengthy for visa renewal.

Some of the other challenges include an employer’s inability to meet specific labor conditions to qualify employees for visas (20%); and the restrictive nature of eligibility requirements for obtaining a visa (16%).

SHRM surveyed 489 HR professionals for this report. Contact Will Gray to get a copy of the report.