For years, comprehensive immigration reform has moved through the U.S. House and Senate in stops and starts. The new administration has signaled a more aggressive stance on immigration right out of the gate, and Congress is expected to take up comprehensive immigration reform once again. In the meantime, a great deal of uncertainty will cloud the process for companies and candidates alike.
Talent knows no borders.
Recent government statements and actions suggesting a harder line on immigration have many companies concerned that they could lose some of the most talented business professionals, engineers, scientists and more. The ability of global talent to travel openly for business will be challenged and care must be taken to ensure safe passage for anyone who is being actively recruited. This tougher stance on immigration is not unique to the U.S.; many countries in Europe and Asia are reassessing their positions as well.
The Status of Current Assignees
One of the biggest issues that global mobility companies face with immigration reform is potential disruption for their assignees already in the U.S. Employees who are already on payroll may require new paperwork, additional legal support and more. The prospect of changes coming to the work visa, green card and passport systems could mean unexpected expenses on the part of the company to retain legal status. Until a clear plan is introduced, it is difficult to know what to expect, although many companies have already created a contingency plan and secured legal assistance to get them through the process.
Changes that might affect your employees could also affect their families. While you are busy working to keep your employees on the right side of the law, you can expect to spend more on family immigration as well. Spouses and children will be subject to more scrutiny and will require the same level of support as the employees themselves.
Right now, there is little hard information to rely on in planning for immigration reform, but it is safe to assume that companies will bear more uncertainty and greater compliance costs. There is also reason to believe that the talent pool will be constricted until the dust settles, so global talent recruitment may become more difficult. The reality is that immigration reform will be a developing topic and we will return to it as events unfold.