Attracting immigrants good for business
4:00 AM Tuesday Dec 22, 2009

Immigration is good for business, and business leaders believe foreign workers have a positive impact on the economy, a new study has found.

Nearly 80 per cent of the 501 business executive respondents to an online survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit said foreign workers helped to fill specific skills gaps and staffing needs, and said their hiring practices towards foreign talent had remained constant despite the recession.

Most said these foreign workers enhanced the skills and talent of their workforce, gave them competitive advantages and provided their businesses with global market insights.

"The results clearly indicate a belief that foreign workers are seen as a critical component of a workforce that includes predominantly domestic workers, complemented by foreign workers," the report said.

But nearly nine out of 10 said they faced significant challenges to hiring foreign workers, including cultural and language barriers, limited quotas and visa processes being too long, complicated costly.

More than a quarter said regulations made it difficult to hire a sufficient number of foreign workers, and the report says policymakers need to address this need.

Respondents to the survey, conducted on behalf of Western Union, included top-level executives and business leaders mainly from Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe.

"The challenge for policy makers will be to address these business needs by developing flexible immigration policies that minimise barriers to mobility," the report said.

From here.