Remote Tech Talent: Work Authorization

Work Authorization in 2017

Thinking about expanding your talent pool to new locations?

My last post talked about the increased willingness tech organizations have in retaining top talent via a remote work scenario. This post surrounds work authorization and some of the changes we’ve seen over the last few years and what we can expect in the future.

Many of the hiring managers I work with have relied on remote work and international talent to meet the needs of their growing businesses. In addition, organizations have successfully grown to a global level requiring talent across many continents. However, complications in work authorization are becoming part of the process, taking up time and money like never before.

For example, 3 to 5 years ago businesses in the U.S. could file a new H1B and get a candidate from offer to acceptance to working within a of couple months. Now, we are looking at a much tougher road, with the H1B quota filling up in the US faster than ever before.

Here are just some of the frequent issues we’re seeing:

  • Employers are having a difficult time getting new hires into the H1B application process because of the yearly quota. Once the quota is met the candidate needs to reapply the following year.
  • The high volume of Student Visa holders and graduates outnumber the companies able to take on sponsorship.
  • Foreign workers often enter the US on an L-1 Visa to work for their employer on a special assignment. They are not eligible to work for anyone else and often times desire to stay in the states, which means they end up changing employers. However, if they leave their employer, they must return to their native country because an L-1, unlike an H1B, is not transferable between employers.
  • If an H1B Visa holder loses their job, they must get hired before the INS gets wind of their status and find a new employer quickly.
  • There is an increased hesitation in Visa Holders changing jobs in 2017 under the new US administration.
  • CNN has their own flaws to report in this recent video.

What’s Next: How are recruiters making it work?

Legal teams are helping flexible firms figure out how to move top talent around to get the job done. Literally, they move the employee to another location outside the US.

Say an engineer’s origin is in a location that the client has an office – put them there temporarily, especially if that location can move a work authorization faster. Here are some actual examples of working to make the best out of work authorization issues:

  • Temporary solution: Objective Paradigm made a placement with a trading firm in the US, where the candidate did not have authorization to work in the US for another employer. Since our client had offices in London, we were able to relocate said person on a temporary basis, with hopes of helping him earn an H1B visa within the next year. The said candidate was a resident of the UK.
  • Just last year, I placed an engineer from Google at a trading firm in Singapore. This worked out great because the candidate was originally from Asia and we received work authorization within a two month period – very hard to do in most other countries.
  • We also placed a Quant Trader (US Citizen) on a 2-year assignment in Amsterdam. There were no issues getting him onboard and set up to work in Europe.

Overall, you need to stay informed and do what is in the best interest of your client. Our clients like to hire a diverse workforce, since having a mix of cultures and a global presence is what their products and services thrive on.

Stay tuned for more from the OP team on work authorization. If you have a work authorization story that you would like to share – please let us know. We look to keep employers and technologists informed and hopeful about working in the US.

If you have any questions about expanding your talent pool to new locations, please feel free to email me at epollock@oprecruiting.com.


Evan Pollock, Objective ParadigmEvan Pollock, Managing Partner and Recruiter at Objective Paradigm, helps all types of firms looking to hire the best technologists in the world. Evan’s hot spot is with rapidly growing tech-based organizations and Financial Technology firms, a large percentage of the candidates he places are relocated to different parts of the US and beyond. Stay tuned to the OP blog where he offers insight to both technologists and the hiring managers that need them.

Connect with Evan on LinkedIn.

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