There’s a fairly simple equation when it comes to success and productivity: The more resources you have available, the more effectively you’ll be able to perform. In an age when globalization has redefined how companies approach not just potential markets but available talent pools as well, this principle takes on a whole new importance.

Global awareness combined with a steady rate of immigration to the U.S. means that businesses can – and indeed should – expand their hiring practices to include qualified candidates from other countries. But while U.S. immigration policies have created difficulties in this area, a recent change in legislation is poised to benefit both job-seekers and employers.

Changes to the visa system
The revision to the visa system proposed by the Obama administration is relatively simple, but may have significant impact on hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Traditionally, only those who had acquired an H-1B visa – i.e., those who had been sponsored by an employer – were eligible to work in the U.S. This status didn’t extend to spouses of visa holders, meaning that even qualified partners had to either find sponsorship through an employer of their own, or be restricted from working.

The reform now grants working rights to an additional class of visa holders. Those who hold H-4 visas – the type of documentation granted to spouses of H-1B holders – will now be able to find employment of their own.

How businesses will benefit
The reform to immigration and visa policies will have advantageous effects for more than just the hundreds of thousands of spouses now qualified to seek employment. Businesses across the U.S. now have the benefit of a much wider array of knowledge, skills and experience that previous immigration laws had barred them from. In fact, immigrants have been shown to be huge assets to commerce nationwide.

According to Inc. magazine, approximately 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants, including some of the biggest players out there, like Google. The source noted that allowing H-4 visa-holders to seek employment could improve the GDP by around $250 billion in just 10 years, demonstrating that immigration reform benefits not just immigrants, but the entire economy as well.

Small-business owners who may struggle to understand how they are affected by the change in policy should reach out to PEO companies. HR services can be a valuable asset to employers in times of significant change in the workforce.