Imagine if getting laid off meant not only losing your job and income but your right to live in the United States. That’s just the situation tens of thousands of foreign-born workers have found themselves in as a wave of layoffs sweeps the American tech industry, as reported by Business Insider.
In another article by the New York Times report, inflation and worries about a possible recession have tech firms cutting back for the first time in years. More than 146,000 tech workers have been laid off this year — including over 50,000 just in November — from high-profile companies such as Twitter, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft.
Many of these suddenly jobless workers hail from countries such as India, China or Eastern Europe and live and work in the U.S. on H-1B visas, a temporary visa for those with specialized expertise. (As of 2019, just under a quarter of all STEM workers in the U.S. were foreign-born.)
To remain in the U.S. legally — where many of them have bought homes and started families — these workers need to find new employers willing to sponsor their visas. They have a mere 60 days to do so.
For employers, tech industry churn represents an opportunity to pick up some highly-skilled, experienced workers who are eager to find new workplaces. For CRAs and background screening companies, it means an imminent spike in international employment and education verification orders — and a chance to differentiate your business from those that can’t handle the complexities of international verifications or the surge in demand.
Is your CRA up to the task?
Why International Verifications Are Different
Any demand spike can tax a CRA’s ability to complete verifications accurately and, most importantly, at the pace most end-users expect. But the complications involved with international verifications can grind even the most efficient domestic verifications process to a halt.
Here are just a few of the challenges faced by CRA teams when verifying the employment and education of international job applicants:
While many international sources speak English, it’s not a given. In addition, some sources speak English but are much more receptive to being contacted in their native languages.
If your business only deals with the occasional international verification, you might be able to squeak by with English alone, but foreign language fluency is a must as your volume increases.
Different Data and Naming Conventions
Did you know that in many Spanish-speaking countries, people go by two surnames: one from their mother’s side and one from their father’s? Were you aware that the father’s last name is often used as an identifier in India? How about the United Kingdom requiring the mother’s maiden name for a criminal records check?
We get so accustomed to the name-social-address-DOB routine in the U.S. that we forget that our data customs are not universal — and that what works to identify a person in one country may not work in another. Expert knowledge of all the background screening data and naming conventions you may encounter around the world is necessary for completing international verifications accurately and efficiently.
Lack of Local Expertise and Experience
Every information source (schools and employers) has its quirks and preferred procedures for procuring verification information. International sources add whole new layers of difficulty.
For example, some schools and companies in India will only accept verification requests on a specific day, emailed in a particular format. Any attempt to bypass this standard procedure will only result in even longer delays.
Meanwhile, in Japan, if you manage to get someone on the phone, they’ll likely provide only the most basic information about a job applicant. Getting them to say more takes finesse and an understanding of cultural norms.
To scale your resume verifications operation to handle an influx of international orders, you need the expertise and experience to navigate the varying practices of hundreds of organizations in dozens of countries.
Unfamiliarity With International Compliance
Just as in the United States, every country has its own set of regulations governing how and what background screening information can be made public.
To avoid running afoul of regulators and exposing your company and your clients to legal risk, your verifications team should have a thorough grasp of these rules — which isn’t easy considering how many different countries produce tech workers.
The CRA’s Solution: Outsource International Verifications
Most midsize CRAs and even many larger firms lack the in-house expertise to overcome the challenges listed above or handle the coming spike in volume. And with many CRAs reducing their staffing levels in recent months, most are not in a position to scale up quickly to take on a rash of new international orders.
The natural solution is outsourcing. The right outsourced background screening data provider can supplement your internal team’s domestic or in-house international capabilities with international know-how and processes, giving your company global reach and capacity without adding a single employee.
To ensure your provider can deliver the timely, accurate, and comprehensive international verifications data you require, look for:
- Extensive knowledge and experience with international data sources. Your provider should know when to use a third-party database and when to contact a source directly, and be familiar with the ordering requirements of various international employers and schools. The best data providers maintain a comprehensive global directory of sources that outlines the optimal method for contacting each one.
- Foreign language skills. Your data provider’s team should include members who can interact with sources in their preferred languages.
- Service metrics that demonstrate a proven process. To consistently provide high-quality results within a reasonable period, a data provider must enforce and manage a repeatable process, monitoring and improving that process using data. A quality international employment verifications provider will have metrics like turnaround time and unable-to-verify rate at hand because they are watching them routinely.
Seize the International Verifications Opportunity
In today’s unpredictable labor landscape, CRAs are always looking for new revenue streams. As foreign workers continue to journey to the U.S. for employment in the tech industry, international verifications can become a profitable and long-term addition to your background screening services. The right data provider can help you get started.
Click below to speak to an InformData representative about expanding your CRAs international footprint.