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h 1b workers: Ray of hope: Several US companies hire laid-off H-1B workers, finds survey

The current job market in the US has been grim. With several companies laying off employees and freezing hiring, H1B visa holders have been the worst affected as they roughly get 60 days to find another sponsor.

But there’s a glimmer of hope for several hundred visa holders who were impacted by the layoffs. According to a survey report released by immigration services provider Envoy Global, nearly 89% of the companies surveyed have hired one or more foreign nationals who were laid off.

The survey was conducted in the month of February and got responses from HR professionals engaged in immigration functions in their companies. It cuts across a wide variety of industries and company sizes.

In their report ‘2023 immigration trends’, Envoy Global also pointed out that 78% of the companies surveyed had hiring freezes in 2022 due to macroeconomic trends, while nearly 51% laid off foreign workers. However, many companies benefited by recruiting foreign talent impacted by the earlier layoffs.

Despite the harsh economic reality, the survey also shows that the demand for foreign talent is higher than now in early 2022. According to Department of Labour, it recorded an all-time high in H-1B sponsorships. As many as 71% companies report recruiting more foreign nationals in the first quarter of 2023 than during the same period last year, it states.

According to the survey, This momentum is not going to stop. It expects slightly more H-1B registrations than they did in 2022, which saw a record 483,000 submissions.

The online registration period for H-1B specialty occupation visas opened on March 1. As always, once the registration period ends, this will be followed by a lottery for selection of candidates as the number of registrations far exceeds the annual H-1B cap quota of 85,000 visas. Indians are traditionally the main beneficiaries, bagging more than 60% of the new H-1B cap allotments.Despite the high demand to sponsor foreign talent in the U.S., immigration barriers are leading employers to relocate foreign national employees overseas. 81% of the companies transferred its foreign national employees to an office while 80% of the companies relocated employees overseas to work remotely, both due to visa related issues in the US last year. 86% of companies hired employees outside the U.S. for roles originally intended to be based inside the country because of visa-related uncertainties.

In response to U.S. immigration barriers, companies relocated employees to Canada, Mexico and the UK most frequently.

In addition to establishing one or multiple entities outside the US, American companies are also exploring the creation of a Global Employment Company and moving employees to other countries using an ‘Employer of Record’ or a ‘Professional Employer Organisation’ or other contracting method to continue to indirectly work with them.