Retaining Top Talent Through Green Card Sponsorship

Retaining Top Talent Through Green Card Sponsorship

You’ve probably heard of some of the impressive perks Silicon Valley’s big names use to attract talent. Uber offers $100 in ride credit per month, Thrillist gives its employees their birthday off, and Google offers employees everything from sleeping pods to indoor rock climbing walls.

But for international employees, all these perks pale in comparison to another benefit: green cards.

In fact, many of Silicon Valley’s biggest names use green card sponsorship as a way to attract and retain top talent. Tech giants like Amazon, Intel, Apple, and Facebook all ranked in the top 10 in company green card petitions in 2018.

For a long time, smaller companies couldn’t compete. The employer-sponsored (EB-2) green card process was long, arduous and expensive, and simply not in the budget. But the landscape for green cards changed significantly in 2016, with the relaxing of sponsorship restrictions under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). 

The EB-2 NIW allows applicants to bypass the application for a labor certification and thereby 90% of the work for companies in the process.

But using the EB-2 NIW isn’t just about saving on paperwork. It’s about offering the single biggest perk you can to foreign nationals at your company. And that offer creates three major areas of improvement:

Employee Loyalty – Employees are incredibly grateful to employers who support their lifelong dreams and incentivizes high-performance.

Employee Retention – Employee satisfaction is greatly improved by sponsorship, and allows your talent to build long-term life plans that include your company.

Employee Engagement – Happier employees can focus on work and not on deportation, removing a major stressor.

To qualify for the EB-2 NIW, an employee must satisfy two steps of eligibility requirements.

The first is the General Eligibility Test, which can be met in one of three ways:

#1 You have an advanced degree of a Master's or higher (e.g. PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

#2 You have a Bachelor's Degree with 5 years of progressive work experience

#3 You meet the USCIS “exceptional ability” requirements, deeming your employment in the United States to greatly benefit the nation. You can find more details about exceptional ability here [link to What Is Exception Ability? resource]

After passing the General Eligibility Test, you must also satisfy all three requirements of the National Interest Waiver test, which are:

  1. Your proposed work has both substantial merit and national importance
  2. You are well-positioned to advance your proposed work and
  3. When balancing all the factors, it would be in the national interest of the U.S. to grant you a waiver of the normal job and labor certification requirements.

There are many fields and specialties that pass the NIW test. For example, you could be a scientist doing research on a new drug or treatment, or a startup founder working on a new technology. And dozens more over.

Legalpad can help you determine eligibility and the best option based on your goals and unique credentials. Contact us today.

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