H1B sponsorship can be a monumental task to undertake for small companies given the complexity of the process. Small businesses and startups are facing problems regarding complications with the amount of resources and documentation required to hire highly skilled foreign workers. As documented by the recent Wall Street Journal article, many small companies are looking for talented individuals, but cannot compete against larger, recognized companies when applying for H-1B visas.
In fact, the Brookings Institution found that essentially 70% of H-1B applications filed do not go beyond the preliminary stage of the process, many of which are small businesses. In the length of time it takes for small companies to complete the necessary forms for their skilled worker, the amount of visas available drops drastically. Every year, 65,000 H-1B visas are made available for first-time applicants and an additional 20,000 for higher degree holders, but in April that quota was met five days after the application date. Many small businesses are advocating a higher quota or seeking a simpler application process that wouldn’t dedicate as much time and resources.
Leading technology companies have advocated for an increase in H-1B visas to Congress members. Companies such as Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp, and Facebook Inc. are some of the few that are raising awareness to the cause. Even though Senate lawmakers have approved an annual H-1B cap increase, small business employers still face the disadvantage of competing against major technology companies in attracting H-1B talent.
Many small businesses and startups are incapable of providing the resources and funds necessary to complete the H-1B hiring process. Many small firms routinely given up the idea of hiring H-1B workers because of the high risk of rejection.
Small businesses and startups are searching nationally and internationally for the best talent to fit the skill set and experience necessary for them. Alden Zecha, chief financial officer of Sproxil, Inc said,”we’re looking for qualified individuals, and if they’re U.S. nationals, that would be easier for us.” Mr. Zecha hopes that a portion of H-1B visas can be segregated just for smaller business and startups in order to eliminate the competition against large employers.