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Go global: how to hire international candidates

Published on: 11 Jul 2024

With many organisations struggling to find the talent they need, hiring workers from overseas may be a way of attracting quality employees.

Go global: how to hire international candidates

There can be a perception that hiring international candidates is challenging – and there are complicated procedures to follow – but it can help to solve those internal skills shortages, as well as develop a more culturally diverse team and potentially help you enter new markets.

The starting point should be to identify the organisation that can help provide you with the advice you need and guide you through the process. In the UK for example, the government website provides information for employers, including advice on the different routes that are available for graduates, students, and skilled workers. Related sites exist for most countries such as Australia, New Zealand or the US, and each system will have different requirements so check the most appropriate for your specific country.

The right to work?

One thing to identify will be how long any visa is valid for, and what you must do to ensure it remains so. Check any other deadlines for applications (graduates will typically only be able to make an application for a brief period after they have finished their studies, for example).

You will also have to assess the costs involved. There will be administrative costs attached to this, and some countries set a minimum salary threshold that any international employee must earn. While this is unlikely to be an issue in the health and safety profession, for some entry-level positions it could be. Interviews may need to be virtual or over the phone, and you might need to factor in time difference.

You will need to conduct right-to-work checks to ensure people are who they say they are. Rules also vary around dependants, and this is also something you’ll need to be clear about so you can handle any questions from candidates.

Graduate visa schemes

To attract and retain students post-study, many countries have preferential visa schemes to encourage employers to recruit international students. Australia, for example, has a post-study graduate visa, and in the UK employers do not need a sponsor licence to hire someone with a Graduate visa as it is an unsponsored route. By using such schemes, employers can potentially reduce costs and administration associated with international student recruitment.

Other elements to consider

  • Accommodation is an obvious issue, and while some people may be familiar with the local housing market this may not apply to all, so it is important to be able to provide support.
  • Those with families may need support to find schools or register for medical services.
  • Employees and their families may also need support with learning the language. Facilitating courses, whether online or in-person, can help here. Remember, too, that embracing multiple languages and cultures enriches the workplace and contributes to a more inclusive environment.
  • Laws around immigration – and occupations deemed to be suffering from skills shortages – can change very quickly, so make sure you have the latest information to stay up to date. That way you can ensure you will be hiring within the rules and can get on with making the appointment a success for all involved.