Why recruit temporary sponsored skilled migrants? A human capital theory analysis of employer motivations in Australia

30 June 2021

This article uses human capital theory to analyse employer motivations for recruiting skilled migrants on temporary sponsored visas, a group receiving limited attention within human resource management (HRM) scholarship despite being an increasingly important part of the workforce in many organisations and countries. We address this gap through a survey analysis of 1602 employer respondents who sponsored temporary skilled visa holders in Australia. The findings indicate that cost-effectiveness as a motivator for recruitment decisions can be achieved not only through HRM strategies to maximise worker productivity, as human capital theories emphasise, but also by identifying groups of workers perceived as harder working than other groups. The findings also draw attention to the role of government policy in this identification process, specifically visa regulations constraining the mobility of temporary sponsored skilled migrants, which allows employers to utilise these workers’ human capital effectively.