Recruiting, Talent

Improve Recruiting and Retention with Foreign Hires and Oversees Hiring

Between high turnover and difficulty hiring, organizations are finding innovative ways to adapt. Recent research has shown that 93% of employers say that sourcing foreign national employees is important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy. Additionally, international assignments are seen by 91% of employers as at least somewhat important for enhancing their recruiting and retention initiatives.


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The research, called the Immigration Trends Report 2020, was conducted by Envoy and sought to understand how organizations interact with legal immigration around the world.

A Critical Part of Recruiting Strategies

Many organizations rely on foreign national talent in order to conduct business. Twenty-seven percent of employers indicated that sourcing foreign national workers is extremely important, which is up by 7 points from last year. As mentioned above, 93% say it’s at least somewhat important, which has held steady within a point or 2 for the last 4 years.

The reliance upon foreign national workers by employers has not declined in the face of increasing challenges. When asked if the current administration has made the visa application process more difficult, 38% said it had. Forty-one percent of employers cited uncertainty of outcomes as a major pain point for hiring foreign nationals. Other challenges include a rise in application denials (38%), a lack of transparency (34%), and rising anxiety by foreign nationals (30%). Every one of these metrics has increased steadily over the last few years.

It is quite remarkable that despite an increase in challenges in acquiring foreign national talent, the dependence on such talent has not gone down. This is likely due to the extreme value many employers put on their foreign national workers. For example, 35% said they found the knowledge of markets and business practices of cultures outside the United States to be very important. Another 34% said they found the valuable new perspectives of such workers to be very important.


Interestingly, global mobility among employees has been used as a strategy by some organizations to improve retention. According to PWC, 71% of Millennials in the U.S. workforce want an overseas assignment. And in the last few years, 22% of employees left companies for career development. The report sought to get some clarity on what this means for organizations that send workers abroad.

What they found was that non-U.S. global assignments are increasingly a strategic aspect of both talent acquisition and employee development. The report examines how employers approach inbound and outbound global immigration processes and challenges. Key findings include:

  • Career development incentives: 31% of employers listed rotational programs used to reward or develop high-potential employees as the primary force behind their outbound immigration work.
  • Enables future success: 36% of employers listed succession planning as a driver.
  • Sending employees abroad is easier: Employers reported that the immigration process for sending employees to Canada (52%), the United Kingdom (36%), India (35%), and Germany (33%) has become easier.

If you are looking to hire workers abroad, perhaps consider sending one of your stateside employees out there. It might be just what you need.

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