Due to the dearth of financial planning career entrants, some firms have resorted to “sponsoring” and hiring international workers for work Visas to fill the void. The process for sponsoring an employee is not for everyone but could be a potential solution for you if you don’t have any other options or the perfect candidate for the role you are trying to fill isn’t able to work in the US. In this month’s article, we provide a summary of the sponsorship process, plus the benefits and challenges of sponsoring your next hire.
Keep in mind, there are many different types of Visas, but for this article we will focus on the H1-B Visa since it is the most common. The department of labor allows for a certain number of foreign professionals each year to work in the US in specialty occupations so make sure you and the potential employee meet all of the requirements. Since the worker cannot sponsor themselves (think FINRA Series 7 exam), the burden falls on the employer to navigate the process and cover the fees pertaining to sponsorship. Here are what firms must do if they want to sponsor a new hire.
- Submit application (sponsorship paperwork) form I-129 and Labor Condition Application when window opens usually April 1st each year.
- Pay appropriate fees.
- Employee to be hired applies for Visa with Embassy if abroad or Customs & Border Patrol if domestic.
For more details on the application process click here.
Advantages of sponsoring a potential worker
- Talent pool diversification – The competition for these types of candidates, at least, according to the ones we have interviewed over the years, is much less fierce due to most employers not wanting to engage in the perceived hassle and commitment of undertaking the sponsoring process.
- Deeper loyalty – As we have mentioned many times before, there isn’t anything an employer can do to keep someone from leaving. However, when a team member finds an employer to sponsor them, they are less likely to leave prior to their Visa expiring. At least, from the ones that we have interviewed over the years.
- Increased diversity and inclusion within profession - It is no secret that the profession lacks diversity as only 4% of all CFPs are minorities. In addition to hiring individuals who have diverse backgrounds they also bring diversity of thinking and approach to problem solving which you should be able to utilize to service your clients more effectively.
Challenges of sponsoring a potential team member
- Can be costly – fees can range anywhere from $1,710 - $7,870 + attorney’s fees. There is no requirement to use an attorney, but some firms who have hired an attorney who specializes in Immigration Labor law have found it valuable to have a subject matter expert to guide them through the complicated maze to secure their ideal candidate. Depending on how involved they are, fees can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
- Can be a lengthy process – the normal process takes approximately 2- 6 months or employers have the option to pay a premium processing fee to ensure they receive a decision within 15 days. Also, most firms we represent want to retain their team members if possible so the idea of losing someone after 6 years, if they are not able to obtain a green card makes this option a non-starter.
- No guarantees – when the DOL receives more applications than Visa quotas which currently stands at 65,000, there is a lottery to select the Visa grantees. As with anything else, the more applicants, the lower the probability of being selected in the lottery. Furthermore, the DOL may not approve the extension after the initial three-year term expires. So, they would need to obtain a green card and/or become a US citizen before that point.
As you can see, there are many benefits and challenges associated with sponsoring a worker for your firm. We encourage firms who decide they want to sponsor an international worker to engage in appropriate professional counsel to avoid some of the more complex parts of the process as well as be prepared with a contingency plan if Visa application is denied.