The Immigration Guy

The Tech Industry Is Missing Out On Qualified Labor

October 19, 2022 Kyle Farmer Season 1 Episode 10
The Immigration Guy
The Tech Industry Is Missing Out On Qualified Labor
Show Notes Transcript

Kyle and Trevor, Farmer Law PC team member, chat about the tech industry and how they may be missing out on qualified labor. The TN visa is underutilized in the tech industry and instead are relying on competing for a capped visa type. Listen to find out more! 

We know, the immigration system is messy! It’s complicated and confusing, especially for those looking to gain a visa or hire foreign workers. Farmer Law PC’s Immigration Guy, Kyle Farmer, knows all of the tricks of the trade. The firm specializes in innovative immigration solutions, some of which you’ll get to hear about on this podcast. Tune in for commentary on immigration-related news and industry insights, and The Immigration Guy’s thoughts on much more!

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**The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Listeners of this podcast should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this podcast or any of the links or resources contained within the description do not create an attorney-client relationship between the listener and Kyle Farmer. **

Produced & Edited By: Drew Tattam

Dude, I was surprised how good Joe Biden's, his legs weren't, weren't too bad. He had like pretty like tan legs were being so old and decrepit. I was, I was pretty impressed by that. I was like, mm-hmm. I got that on her. Oh God, no.

Alright with that, just a pure observation standpoint, just, oh no, we're for sure. We're gonna leave that in. Hey all, this is the immigration guy with Kyle Farmer.

Are you Googling Joe Biden? Kinda how, what was the exact Google search you just had? I forgot to type L bunch. Joe. Biden.

Alright. Alright. Oh God. Are you ready to start this thing? Drew, welcome back to the Immigration Guy podcast. Happy freaking Wednesday. With us today is my good friend Trevor. Trevor works here at the law firm, and he has a title that I don't really know, cuz I don't really know titles very well. But what's your title?

Um, Senior Business Relationship Developer? Yes. Yes. The best Senior Business Relationship Developer in the business. Yes. Also, you can call it BIRD for short. That's why I always call you a bird. Big bird. Yeah. Big bird. Yeah, it's big bird. Yeah, the big bird. Nice. Uh, well, it is getting close to bow season.

For deer hunting. So pretty. Sorry about that. Do you do any bow hunting? No, I have shot, my dad does have a crossbow, but I've never actually shot it at an animal before shot. Have you shot it at all? Yes, I have. It's fun, but I feel like it's not as satisfying as it would be to shoot with like a compound boat.

Yeah. I mean it's a, it's a lot more like a gun. Uh, yeah. Crossbows were illegal in Texas, like when I was growing up. Mm-hmm and I remember when they became legal, I was like, oh, that's awesome. And then I was about five years too late, cuz that's when I started bow hunting like five years before that. And I was like, I'm not going back to crossbows now, but, If I were getting into bow hunting season, crossbows a good place to start cuz it's easier he can actually kill something.

Yeah. No. And it's like a really fun pellet gun, almost like that's, it's like a really fun pellet gun that'll kill a lot more... Yes... Than a squirrel. Yes, yes. Of course, you can kill squirrels with bows. I've done that. Yes. And I've never actually seen that happen before, though. Oh dude, you can, if you, if a squirrel is on a tree and you shoot it with a bow. Mm-hmm.

You can you pin it to the tree? Doesn't go anywhere, dude. Squirrels delicious. It is. Oh, it's delightful. Yeah. Put it in a stew. Mm-hmm. Roast it up. Mm-hmm. So good. Yeah. Uh, alright, well what are we talking about today, Trevor? So, we are gonna be talking about the TN visas and specifically TN visas in the tech industry.

Um, cause that's a, that's a topic that I've obviously been super, super interested in because most people in the tech industry, they're primarily using, uh, an H-1B visa, and I feel like it's being really underutilized in that specific industry. So yeah, that's what we're gonna be discussing. Cool. Yeah, and I'm sure there's gonna be plenty of overlap for other occupations in… Mm-hmm.

TN visa categories cuz a lot of people are gonna be familiar with, with both visa categories. But, um, let's talk a little bit about some of the differences between TNs and, and H-1Bs. I mean, no obviously that one of the biggest difference is the numerical cap for H-1Bs. H-1Bs are extremely competitive, so if you're applying for an H-1B, at least a new H-1B, you're gonna be doing it at one time a year.

Whereas TNs are not numerically capped at all. There's hundreds of thousands of them issued every year. Yeah, there was six, it's 65,000 for the, um, H-1B cap. And, um, fun fact for you. Um, according to the USCIS, uh, there was 483,927, um, H-1B registrations. Um, so that's for those 65,000 slots? Yeah, it's, it that's incredibly competitive.

I mean, it's, it, it's pretty ridiculous. But that was actually kind of a nice change that they did a couple years ago. So, what they used to do was people would prepare the whole H-1B application and they would submit the entire thing with a cap that competitive, and then USCIS would conduct the lottery there.

They would take the ones that fall in there and ship the old, the ones that fell outside of the bag. Mm-hmm. Uh, but they, they changed their process a little bit a couple years ago, which, you know, to, to their credit. I think was a very smart change where they made it into a registration system where you register, uh, you, you file for the registration.

It's like, I don't know, like 10 bucks to file and register your H-1B person and then you only file the entire application if you're selected. And that was a, that was a really nice change and hopefully saved employers a lot of money. But the cool thing is with TNs, you don't have to go through any of that crap.

Yeah, no, absolutely. And they are now opening up second and third lotteries too for all the unused, um, H-1B slots too. And that's a little bit of a change as well, which is kind of nice. And that's, you were saying that a little bit earlier, that they just throw away the ones that are just unused. Yeah.

So, it's nice that they're changing that up a little bit. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think that one reason companies rely so heavily on H-1Bs versus TNs is because it opens up the pull of applicants a lot. Cuz you can get H-1Bs from anywhere, uh, almost. Whereas TNs, you can only get from Mexico or Canada.

Hmm. But I, I, I do agree with you certainly that it would be nice if people started to prioritize recruitment in, in Mexico and Canada for a lot of these TN type positions. Even, even in, uh, technology where they can file TN visas instead of H-1Bs because they're so much easier and they're faster, but what did you have on, on?

What about industries? What's the OR occupations, what's the peaks one applied for? Yeah, so just for everyone's knowledge, the way that the TN program works is there's a whole nu… There's a whole variety of different categories and under each category, like for instance, engineers, the work that you're wanting to sponsor an individual on has to be applicable to the category and their degree that the person possesses has to be applicable to that category as well. So, the categories that are really standing out and that are actually some of the most popular H-1B categories, um, that I've found is, uh, one of 'em is the, um, engineering category. That would be a huge category under the TN visa.

Yeah. Um, you could use that for your software or hardware engineers. Um, another one. Which is really big is the computer, uh, system analyst. That's a category as well, that's on the TN visa. And then also, I know this isn't your most favorite category, but, uh, potentially the management consultant category could be another one.

Um, especially if they were, um, they're hired to like resolving like strat… Uh, strategic and operational problems, um, or any of that kind of stuff. Um, and then also this one is more applicable to kind of, all industries, but accountants, that's a huge category that, yeah, I have found whenever looking at the H-1B disclosure, uh, accountants make up a huge portion of that as well.

Are computer scientists on there too? I believe so. Let me pull up the category list. I think they're on the TN list, but yeah, no, that the management consultant one is, uh, it's just a tough position. It is to get approved. It's, yeah, you know that there's a nice aspect of it where that the management consultant doesn't require a bachelor's degree.

It necessarily, it requires a bachelor's degree or the necessary experience. Uh, but it's just tough because the, if they're coming, so I, I guess just to back up a little bit, the whole TN process is done. If they are, uh, Canadian citizens is done at the port of entry. Uh, if the beneficiaries of Mexican citizen, then it's done at the U.S.

The whole, the whole thing, which is awesome cuz you know, you the, instead of going through the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Labor, you don't have to do any of that. It's all done at the embassy or at the port of entry. But with those management consultants, the analysts are just tough and there's no appeal process.

You know, if you're denied at the port of entry or at the embassy in Mexico, you're, there's not an appeal process to say, no, I think this person did it wrong. Instead, you have to reapply, and the next application usually doesn't look too favorable on you because they, you already went through a denial. So, they don't want to, they, they don't want to undercut the, the prior analyst mm-hmm.

So just makes it kind of tough. So, I'm looking at the category list right now and I don't see anything under, I think... Um, I don't see anything under computer scientists. I just see it under computer system analyst. That's the Oh, okay. Only other one that I see. Yeah. Yeah. Some other differences between, between the visas, the H-1B Visa is what's called a dual intent visa, which is another good thing about H-1Bs. Uh, and a dual intent just means that the person can have, as a matter of law, both an immigrant and a non-immigrant intent, whereas the TN is a non-immigrant intent visa. Uh, so that's a variable to consider, particularly with any green card filings.

Uh, or getting married in the U.S. or anything like that. You gotta be, you gotta be kind of careful about anything that you do that would demonstrate an immigrant intent on a TN visa where you don't have to be so scared about it on H-1B Visa. Mm-hmm. Uh, but one of the other big differences is the, uh, prevailing wage requirements with t… With TNs, there's not a specific prevailing wage that you have to pay the, the beneficiaries.

But with H-1B is there, there is. So, it's a, it's an important thing to consider. But, you know, the, the thing about TN and the whole prevailing wage issue. You, you really wanna be making competitive offers to TNs too. Mm-hmm. And that there's, it's, it TNs are great, uh, because the, the visas specific to the employer.

Uh, but this is a, a market that's also ripe for the picking and that the, the candidates are hungry to work. Uh, the employers generally very. Value these people. And so, I normally see really competitive offers to. Uh, beneficiaries. So, it's a overall though it's a great visa. I mean, teas are my favorite, probably my favorite Visa category.

There is same, same mine as that in PERMs, you know. Oh, you're, you know, you per it up. Uhhuh. I've never, I've never seen someone get after perms quite like you dude, it, they're, they're so great. Um, you like perms more than the 1970s. That's how much you like perms. That's fair. I didn't grow up in the 1970s, but I am neither.

Did I? But I've seen pictures, and everyone had a perm back then. I think that was probably the seventies. Yeah. No, and another thing about the TN that is great is that you can apply for it at any time during the year, right? Yeah. So, With, like I was saying earlier, H-1B, you have to apply, it's April 1st, and then with TNs anytime of the year, typically with the TN process, it used to take, what, four to four to six weeks to be able to book a consulate appointment.

It was so quick. It's not the same for like a Canadian, Canadian, you just go to the port of entry. No problem, but, and now how long are the consulates booking out for students? Man, I, I just. Uh, and it was the middle of February. Oh, okay. And so, we're, you're looking at five months right now. October, November, December, January, uh, four and a half months.

Yeah, I'm, I'm kind of concerned that those are gonna continue to get pushed out because what, what happened there? This was, at least with Mexico ca in Canada, you don't have this issue cuz they just drive through. But in Mexico you do, and you had the book consult appointments and what happened was they, they had I think 10 embassies that we're processing these applications and they cut it down to three and that made it to where the length of time that you're waiting on those.

Appointments is really, really long. So, it's uh, definitely, definitely makes it tough. Yeah. But the cool thing, now they have that re well the reciprocity fee, it's like a cool and also not such a cool thing cause you do have to pay extra fees, but now you kind of have the power to be able to choose that your TN is gonna be good for four years versus. Yeah.

And versus just one year at the time, it wasn't, it just completely up to the, to the officer of that day. Yeah. And what was interesting was it used to. Like when we used to, we used to request 'em for three years mm-hmm, and they would almost always only give 'em for a year. And then before the reciprocity thing, they did start giving 'em for three years, which was nice.

But, uh, getting, getting the, the reciprocity fee, making the duration of that visa longer is great. Mm-hmm, I, I, I love that. It definitely makes the program more workable and, and, and in the long run, it's still more cost effective for the employer. How does that work with the extensions though? Like if you did an extension for TN, is it good for three years at that point?

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. TN extensions are so good in three years. Okay. Okay. One thing that a lot of people, I think have a big reservation about TNs is kind of like they have an advanced position and they're a little bit worried about, you know, would we be able to really recruit someone that would be able to fill this position?

Um, very, you know, very well. Kind of recruitment procedures do we go through to pre-vet everyone to make sure that they are qualified for the position? Yeah, so our recruitment process, Uh, not, not our, our law firms, but aw laborers. The recruitment process for aw labor is basically they get with the employer.

It, it's a lot like if you're recruiting for a U.S. person. You get with the recruiter, you tell the recruiter all the things that you're looking for, and the potential applicant, you're looking for their hard skills, their soft skills. Uh, we want to know about the, a good cultural fit type of person, and then we go, and we look for that exact person.

And then we, we pre-screen people. The first thing that we do whenever we're pre-screening people is to make sure they qualify for a TN. Mm-hmm. Because a lot of times you'll get applications for people that just don't qualify for it or have the wrong degree. Uh, so we'll, we'll pre-screen 'em, make sure that they meet all the visa qualifications.

And all the qualifications of the employer and then present, uh, the applicant to the employer, and then let the employer actually interview the person and just like you would a U.S. worker. Yeah. And then just interview 'em. If, if it seems like a good fit, great, let's go. We'll then we take care of the whole visa application process, um, coordination of the embassy appointments, if it the workers in Mexico, or explain to 'em what they need to do if they are in Canada.

Yeah, I mean, that's, that's basically the process. It would be a lot; it'd be very similar if you were recruiting someone domestically. Yeah. And then the nice thing too is that like you were. Saying earlier is that we pre-vet everyone. So, before you even look at these, these people, um, we make sure to look at one.

Are they, can they apply? Are they applicable for the TN visa? But also, are they, do they meet all the, you know, years of experience that you're specifically looking for? And then all the hard skills. But also, we're gonna be recruiting for the soft skills. So, uh, we're gonna be factoring in the cultural fit within you.

In your company. And because of that, um, we have about an 85% selection rate on the first candidate that we present to all of the employers that we recruit for. Yeah. Um, AW recruits for. Yeah. Um, which is really, really impressive. I think, ha, I don't know if this actually happened, but I remember one guy wanted someone to assemble a birdhouse.

Did you hear about that? Mm-hmm. Okay. I don't know if that actually happened. He talked to me about that and said if we can set that up, if they could just assemble a birdhouse as part of the, as part of the, the interview selection process. That one was specifically for, um, that's pretty funny. Yeah, that it is pretty funny.

I think that was for like an H-2A. Oh no, it was for an H-2B position though. It wasn't for a TN position. Oh, so it was more of a construction type of position they wanna see. Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. Kind of the biggest takeaways I think is, you know, if you are participating in the H-1B program and you're just extremely annoyed by the numerical cap, um, which you rightfully should be. Um, the TN is just a really, really, really great option because like we said earlier, you can apply for it at any time. Yep. Um, and there's not really crazy pros, uh, cons to it. Um, besides, I mean, considering that the wait time's a little bit longer now, but that's still even better than the H-1B wait time.

And then you can also keep these people here indefinitely. You just renew the visa type every three and a half years. So, it's kind of. No-brainer decision, especially if you are looking for, the individuals, like the categories that I mentioned earlier, the computer analysts, the software engineers, if you're looking for any accountants, um, I mean, it wouldn't hurt to have a bilingual accountant.

I mean, that's, that's really useful. It doesn't hurt us. No. And we've, we've hired a couple of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. No, I, I love the TN visa. I'm all for it. Yeah. But, alright, cool. Well, thanks for all that information, Trevor, and, uh, for helping us go through the, the TN and the H-1B thing. But now we're gonna move on to something far more important.

Yes, what's, what's your favorite kind of pie? My favorite kind of pie? That's a loaded question. Uh, fruit or like a custard pie? Which one? Like, or is it just all time? Great. All time. Pecan pie. All that's a good, good. It's such solid. It's hard to mess up. I was really looking forward to making pie fun of you about this, but I think that you kind of nailed it.

Pecan pie's good. It's a strong candidate. My favorite, um, many people would object to, which is a pumpkin pie. A good pumpkin pie. That's pretty, yeah. Dude, the texture on a pumpkin pie, that's pretty polarizing. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. No, it definitely is. You like a lot of cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg.

You like the small flavors; I just like good pumpkin pie. I don't know. I'm, I'm not a chef, but I do I Have you ever made your own pumpkin pie? No, it's, that sounds terrible. It's pretty hard. There used to be this place in Wimberley that would make the best pies. And then they went out of business. And they went out of business because they couldn't find people that wanted to work.

Oh, wow. And so that's what made me so passionate about solving labor issues. The pumpkin pie. The freaking pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie. Did it. What do you think about lemon meringue pie? I've never had it. Wow. What about coconut cream? Not a coconut cream guy, and just because it's gross. I like, I love coconut cream, but you must not like coconut in general then not a big coconut guy.

Okay. Uh, pumpkin pies. Good. Blue. Like I've had some blueberry pies. Mm-hmm. Oh dude. Some of those. I'll make a wrap. A hug of hound. Yeah. Blueberry pies. The only thing is whenever you cut it, it's just, like it just goes all over the plate. Unless you put, like, I found that the, the trick to that is, the trick to that is by, don't you have to, I think you have to put like, like gelatin, Shelton.

Yeah. And it's gotta be, that's what keeps it. It's gotta be kind of cold. It is. Uh, but also don't care so much about how your pie looks. Yeah. We care more about how the pie tastes and the what about, uh, apple pie? Apple pie? I think it's just mid, I think it's just a mid-tier pie. Honestly, this is why I suspect you're Canadian.

Do you. It with cheese, a cheese slice on top. You ever heard of that? That's disgusting. No, it, you're such a freaking Canadian. No, dude, it's always bad. That the most Canadian crap I've ever heard. It's not bad. Some craft single on top melted. No. Get out. You, uh, out outta here right now. It gives you; you're making me so mad.

Now. Makes it, makes the flavor different. Absolutely not. You put ice cream on it. You can have like some kind of cinnamon on your ice cream. You don't put cheese. Don't screw up a good apple pie. What's wrong with you? My grandma taught me this. And you're dude, no, it, I was, I was skeptical at first. And then where's your grandma from?

She's from, um, Edna, Texas, I believe. Okay. Well, she sounds like she's from, from Canada. From Canada, yeah. What's up with your grandma? Dude? Dude, my grandma is one of the best cook, especially her baking, you know, her buttermilk. really good. No one has ever said that their grandma's a bad cook, and I think that's just, cuz that's a straight shot to hell if you do that.

Yeah. Yeah. Drew just said, when she has kids, they are gonna be disappointed with their grandmother's cooking. And I don't know if that was a shot at her own or her boyfriend's mother, one of 'em for sure listens to.

Alright, on that note, you wanna wrap it up, Kyle? Um, yes. Let her rip you. Do you do, Trevor can do the outro for us today. Thank you, guys, for listening to the, uh, Immigration Guy Podcast, um, and hope y'all have a wonderful weekend and look forward. Being on this again. Hopefully Kyle will have me on again. Oh, abso-freaking-lutely.

Awesome. Abso-freaking-lutely. Thank y'all for listening to the Immigration Guy Podcast. We really appreciate it. You can find us on our website. Go to You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. Just search at Kyle Farmer, FLPC. Uh, you can find our law firm on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

All you have to do is search for at Farmer Law PC. Go ahead and subscribe to download all the episodes of our podcast. You can download 'em and listen to 'em whenever and wherever you want. Uh, we'll be releasing new episodes every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, which is apparently a real thing.

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Thank you.