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Ask HN: Why do so few US startups sponsor visas?
2 points by ericdykstra 1605 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
Is it a cost issue? A time issue? Just a lack of understanding of the process, and a lack of motivation to find out? There seems to be a large number of talented developers overseas that want to come to the US, and yet companies spend money on in-house recruiter salaries, huge recruiting fees, and $10-20k recommendation bounties rather than figure out H-1Bs. Is there more to it than that?

my wife works in human resources here in germany, so its not exactly the US perspective but from what I've read the regulations are fairely similiar b/t EU and US. Anyway from what she's told me, there are #1 the stuff you mention i.e. lots of extra hassle, costs, and time concerns and if all the tons of paperwork is not filled out perfectly you can expect to pay heavy fines. Also there's the risks @gabriel34 mentions, and on top of all this there are (at least in germany) regulations that require you "prove" the foreign applicant is better than a german or if no germans available other eu applicants.

There's a reason these companies have HR departments, it is a convoluted mess especially the legal side. I'd be interested to know what some of the US specific problems are if anyone knows?

I'm not from the US, but I believe it's partly about risk. Hiring overseas might be a not so costly option but the risks involved might make it not worth it. There is a myriad of things that could go wrong shuch as the hiree might fell more unconfortable than excpected living in a foreing country and his profile might be different than what you were led to believe by a non-presential long distance hiring process.Reducing this possibilities incurs in costs that probably far outpaces the high cost of hiring internaly.

I have been involved in some ways with this as part of a large company and smaller ones since 1998, overhead and management of the process is a lot of time and money. Unless you are already setup to handle a lot of paperwork etc it is just more work than a startup can dedicate time to. I don't remember the number of man hours to do it, but it is significant, and as some others have already pointed out, the delay to get the person moving is generally pretty significant.

My 2 cents, until you are pretty well established it is a distraction from what a startup should be focused on, customers and revenue.

Currently, if you're applying for an H1-B visa for someone from the UK (don't remember 100% if it is the same for all countries, though I believe it is), you're applying for them to arrive late in 2013 (IIRC - we may even be onto the next cycle now).

For a lot of companies, this is just an intolerable delay. Needs might change too much in that time.

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