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As the legalities of employment in the US continue to evolve, the conviction that the future of work will be remote becomes stronger.

In June, the US President decided to halt access to several employment-based visas, including H-1B visas for high-skill workers. This decision was quickly slammed by leading US tech companies, including Google, Twitter, and Tesla.

Indeed, many organizations depend heavily on H-1B visas to recruit a diverse pool of high-skill talent from abroad. Without access to those visas, companies must look beyond their borders for the talent they need as they simply cannot compete in a globalized market without access to global workers.

Documents such as green cards and work visas make it possible for businesses of all sizes to look beyond their local talent pools. Without H-1B visas, companies (especially those in industries with talent shortages, i.e tech) will suffer. However, these jobs will not simply disappear. Companies will still hire the talent they need – just not in the US.

With the availability and acceptance of remote work opportunities growing, this latest decision presents a great opportunity for businesses from across the globe. They are now in a unique position to access a wider pool of talents than ever before while breaking free from governments’ regulations. This could be the chance for companies who are facing a shortage of skills, an issue particularly prevalent in the UK, to recruit candidates with the relevant skills.

A chance for the UK to solve its digital skills shortage

While the UK employment market remains resilient despite the uncertainties brought by the Covid-19 crisis, UK businesses continue to face a talent shortage, especially in the tech sector.

In a recent report, The Open University found that up to nine in ten organizations are facing a shortage of digital skills, which has a direct impact on their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness. Stats from the IET concur with this finding: in 2019, more than half of UK engineering and technology companies said they believe a shortage of engineers threatens their business.

There are now hundreds of people, with in-demand digital skills, who have been affected by the new US policy. This means that more candidates are now available to fill the thousands of open vacancies within the UK tech sector crying out for skilled talent. UK companies seeking specialist talent should ensure they are among the first in line to attract them.

By recruiting candidates affected by the latest change in the US, UK companies have a chance to shrink the digital skills gap they currently face.

The question is how?

The opportunity is massive yet recruiting and bringing foreign talent into the country can be cumbersome. Currently, UK companies looking to employ foreign talent must meet various requirements depending on candidates’ nationalities, skill sets, and contract lengths, in addition to holding a sponsor license.

This can be difficult, especially for start-ups or small businesses without the necessary resources to carry out this process. Until recently, many large US companies offered support for visa applications as a perk to speed up the process of bringing talent from abroad into the country, locking out smaller companies and international organizations.

To compete, the UK has established a series of visa schemes to attract foreign tech talent, such as the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa and the Start-up Visa. However, for UK companies who want to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the recent changes to the US visa system, a more immediate solution exists.

The opportunities of global remote work

By turning to global remote employment, UK companies can act quickly to recruit talent from anywhere in the world, bypassing the need for visas altogether. Self-serve platforms for global employment enable companies to recruit knowledge workers independent of their locations.

Technology can now entirely manage global payroll, benefits, compliance, and taxes on behalf of companies, freeing them from the administrative burden of global talent management. Remote work offers opportunities to employees no matter where they live, allowing businesses to hire the best talent regardless of location.

There is no doubt that other companies, especially in the US, will also jump on the remote working bandwagon to remain attractive among high-skilled workers. UK businesses should, therefore, seize this opportunity as quickly as possible and ensure remote positions are readily available to a wide range of talent.

By doing so, they will be able to compete with other companies, not only within the country but from across the globe, for a chance to close their digital skills gap.

By Job van der Voort, CEO and co-founder of Remote.

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