The U.S. immigration system has been radically transformed under the current administration with changes seemingly coming on a daily and weekly basis. While migrants coming from Mexico and Central America have been in the spotlight for many reasons, there also have been noticeable shifts in visa applications and approvals that have made it harder for tech people to work for small companies or start-ups.
Study confirms this
There is now a study published by Cornell University and UC San Diego researchers that examines how workers educated in science and engineering at American universities. The study found that workers get offers from smaller companies and start-ups at the same rate as U.S. citizens, but they are half as likely to be hired.
This issue is important because many of the brightest thinkers in this field are foreign-born, thus giving a creative and competitive advantage to the larger companies, leaving small companies and start-ups missing out.
Application process for H-1B visas to blame
Rather than blaming small companies for not hiring foreign workers, it is larger, more established companies that are more successful in securing an H-1B, which is a permanent residency visa. Larger IT companies usually have HR departments that have expertise in the application process to obtain these desired employees. However, part of the problem may also be the cost, which is between $5,000 and $10,000 per visa application.
“Start-ups typically have limited resources and managerial attention, and recruiting talented workers is a major activity for founders,” the study said. “This may be particularly challenging for technology start-ups seeking to hire highly specialized Ph.D.s, as the number of potential employees with the necessary expertise may be small and difficult to find.”
Small businesses need to be agile
These challenges may take time and money, but the result may be worth it. Small businesses and start-ups who do not have large staffs can turn to third party help like business law attorneys who work with tech businesses. They can help the company grow and provide guidance to bring in other useful services that meet the needs of the client.