The Latest News on COVID-19 Impact on Immigration, Hiring Process and IT Staffing

Posted in Coronavirus, European Union, Global mobility, Highly skilled migrants, HR, Immigration, News


COVID-19: Impact On US Immigration

Current impact on U.S. Immigration falls into five main categories:

  1. Travel bans and advisories
  2. Embassy and consulate closures
  3. USCIS field office closures
  4. Premium processing suspension
  5. USCIS policy changes

Travel Bans

Canada: The United States and Canada mutually agreed to close their border for non-essential travel. The closure of the border began on March 21. Non-essential trips are considered recreational or tourist in nature. This measure will be reviewed in 30 days.

Mexico: On March 20, the United States and Mexico mutually agreed to close their border for non-essential travel. The border closure also began on March 21 and will be reviewed in 30 days.

UK and Ireland: On March 14, the European travel suspension was expanded to include the UK and Ireland, which took effect at midnight on March 16th. This applies to individuals who are not U.S. citizens and who have spent time in the previous 14 days in the UK or Ireland.

European Schengen Area: On March 12, there was announcement of the suspension of trips to 26 countries of the Schengen area. This suspension is valid for 30 days, starting from midnight EST on March 13, and applies to people who are not US citizens or LPRs and who spent time in the previous 14 days in the Schengen area.

Travel Advisories

  • U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all international travel
  • US citizens residing in the United States must immediately return to the United States if commercial departures are still available, or prepare for an on-site shelter at their current location if they wish to remain abroad for an indefinite period of time.
  • US citizens living abroad are advised to avoid any international travel.

Embassy and Consulate Closures

The State Department has suspended all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visas at its embassies and consulates in countries that have travel recommendations at level 2, 3, or 4.

USCIS Field Office Closures

On March 18, USCIS announced that it had suspended its personal services at field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs). This is valid until April 1st.

According to the above closures, the following services will be unavailable:

  • Scheduled in-person appointments (including biometrics appointments)
  • Naturalization ceremonies

Mentioned services will be rescheduled once offices re-open.


Employers Still Hiring During Coronavirus Pandemic

Technology gives hiring pros a huge leg up in their processes. Tools like video interviews and online applications achieve the goals of continuing recruitment efforts

Amazon has announced plans to add 100,000 employees to meet customer needs.

National food chains are increasing the number of delivery staff, Walmart is looking for more than 1,000 distribution center employees, and healthcare providers are expanding the number of employees to cope with the expected increase in patient numbers. Retailers and pizzeria chains are increasing their payrolls to meet the demand for takeaway and delivery, even if their locations are closed to guests. The security company has just announced a massive hiring to fill full-time and part-time vacancies to help provide public safety services.

The challenge for these organizations will be to quickly and efficiently recruit on a scale without jeopardizing recruiters and the public. Technology drives the effort. Online apps, video interviews, online adaptation and much more are used for quick and efficient hiring.

Josh Tolan, CEO of video-interviewing company Spark Hire, said, “Technology gives hiring pros a huge leg up in their processes. Especially during this pandemic, tools like video interviews and online applications achieve the goals of continuing recruitment efforts, learning more about applicants and speeding up the hiring process—all from an appropriate social distance.”

The effective use of technology in hiring begins with an online application process that is seamless and comprehensive. Peter Baskin, chief product officer at recruitment software company Modern Hire, suggested that recruiters work whenever possible at home, using text and video technology on demand, rather than schedule personal interviews.

Even when there’s a lack of time, quality cannot be ignored. Many organizations use preliminary assessment questions that a candidate can answer during the video submission process. This allows recruiters to quickly make the decision to move the applicant to the next step.


Coronavirus Challenges IT Staffing

The pandemic forced companies to close their offices and take up the implementation and management of remote work

Tim Herbert, executive vice president of market research and analysis at CompTIA, warns that analysis of job placement data from Burning Glass Labor Insight indicates that the uncertainty caused by coronavirus may begin to weaken the recruitment of IT professionals.

The sectors that are most affected — travel, hospitality, restaurants — are all technology buyers, meaning that technology and service providers may experience short-term sales decline.

The pandemic forced companies to close their offices and take up the implementation and management of remote work – all in the face of a critical shortage of IT workers.

“I think it’s a fair assumption that the surge in telecommuting because of the coronavirus is going to put a strain on IT departments,” said Matt Sigelman, CEO of research firm Burning Glass Technologies. “It’s too early to know what impact that will have on IT hiring. Most employers are still coping with the immediate crisis.”

Talking about what companies will need now and in the coming years, Sigelman said that human resources managers should focus on planning their long-term technological requirements.

“The most important point for hiring managers is to think about their skill needs strategically,” he said. “If a company anticipates it will need more IT talent in the next few years, or specific IT skills, then they should plan for that now, instead of scrambling when the time comes.”

Demand for new skills

As companies create jobs that require skills to implement new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), automated process and blockchain, HR managers will have to understand the landscape of skills needed to determine the right talent pool.

According to Sigelman, there are three things that HR managers need to do to succeed:

  • Research the data sources to find out what skills will be needed in the future and what technological trends can change their workforce;
  • Try to train skilled workers to meet future needs, so as not to pay expensive salaries;
  • Check the relationship between roles in the workforce and in the market to identify non-obvious sources of talent.


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