The Challenges of Hiring Foreign Workers in Your Business

The 2017 directive issued by the Australian government to abolish temporary work visas meant that small and large companies would find it difficult to hire foreign workers from other countries. The three biggest countries outside of Australia affected by this change were India, the UK, and China.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the visa change would attract more skilled workers and enable companies to employ Australians first, instead of having to hire foreign workers who entered the country under the old 457 visa programme. The program was introduced in the 1990s to hasten the entry of business professionals and skilled migrants, but has become mired with controversy as employers misuse it to import cheap labour. The new visa places a limit on a foreigner’s stay in the country to two years, while the new four-year visa requires foreigners to have a higher standard of English language.

The next text explains the benefits of hiring foreign workers and other challenges employers face when recruiting them.

Why Hire Workers From Other Countries

Despite the ongoing debate about whether to hire workers from overseas, it’s evident that foreign workers have advantages for organisations.

These workers:

  • Fill positions where there are shortages of skilled workers—Some industries often lack homegrown talent that businesses require in order to succeed, and foreigners cater to this need.
  • Build a diverse workforce—Overseas workers help companies create a diverse and fulfilling work culture.
  • Give companies the ability to conduct global business—Companies that are planning to expand overseas need employees who can speak in foreign languages. The best way is to hire a foreigner who understands the market and can communicate effectively.
  • Are available more affordably—Companies take advantage of the readily available foreign workforce by paying lower rates than the market price.

Challenges of Hiring Foreign Workers

1. Time Taken to Get Used to the New Environment

Most foreigners take time to become familiar with the new country and job. Human resource managers say that it is the greatest problem that foreign workers deal with once they have relocated to a new country. Experts explain the need for preparation before the relocation to help them know what to expect. Employers are also encouraged to offer support to make the transition process easy.

2. Visa Restrictions

Before hiring a foreign worker, an employer must obtain a foreign labor certification from the Department of Home Affair. A company that employs a registered migration agent to perform the process on its behalf also finds the process lengthy. The documents have to be substantiated in compliance with legal policies. Only after the company has obtained certification can it sponsor a foreigner for a visa. Deviations from work or job location may create problems for the company by restricting future foreign recruitment process.

3. Union Interference

The law requires employers to notify local unions of their intention to employ foreign workers. Unions often oppose plans to hire foreigners, citing there are enough qualified citizens to handle the job. Such efforts have kept more than 50,000 foreign construction workers from getting temporary visas in the last decade. The unions assume that companies seeking to hire foreigners are looking for cheap labor, which is readily available given the influx of overseas workers.

4. Compliance Requirements

Many countries enforced different procedures that govern the employment of foreigners. Employers should get acquainted with all such laws to avoid getting into problems with the local authorities. Hiring illegal employees may result in penalties as high as $315,000, depending on the type of sanction applied to the business.

5. Restrictive Employment Verification Process

The Immigration Act requires employees to complete a form that verifies employment eligibility within three days of employment. The form shows all the identification documents required for approval. However, human resource staff can’t inspect or reject these documents to avoid discrimination charges. Employers shun hiring foreigners to avoid penalties.

6. Lack of Human Contact During the Recruitment Process

Most companies recruit foreign workers online, which eliminates a crucial part of the hiring process, which is human contact. Demanding potential employees to fly to the country for recruitment is not an option for many companies due to the high travel costs. As such, recruitment managers can’t assess the employee’s body language, expressions, and character. Companies can counter this problem by looking for representatives to evaluate the potential employee and find out other aspects that are essential to the recruitment process.

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