Recruitment in Software Development – Visa Requirements

A little over two years ago I made what I thought was the bold decision to change my specialised

area of expertise and moved into the recruitment of software developers. This has proved to be a

fulfilling, albeit challenging change and I have had to learn an immense amount in a short period of


I feel that the changes that I have been exposed to over the past two years mirror the journey that

many companies based in Ireland have embarked on while recruiting experienced professionals

within the software development area. I quickly realised that I could not depend on sourcing

candidates locally for many of my roles and had to figure out where how to search for these prized

individuals within overseas markets.

In this period of time, I have made many observations, the most interesting being the move towards

the use of open-source programming languages for mainstream development within many

organisations in Ireland. Developers with skills in languages such as Ruby on Rails and Python have

been are high demand. It has become apparent that the majority of companies who have been

programming in these languages for a reasonable period of time (5+ years) are located overseas. The

initial recruitment drive for candidates took us to countries within the EU. The pool was not large

however and has left us with a dilemma. The best software developers in the aforementioned

development languages live outside of the EU and require……wait for it…..Visa Sponsorship.

While recruiting Software Developers requiring visa sponsorship I have observed a large variation in

the market in terms of knowledge, attitude and state of preparation when it comes to hiring in this


When hiring a candidate with visa sponsorship requirements for the first time, the following

obstacles are repeatedly coming to the fore:

 a lack of knowledge of the process

 an unwillingness wait up to 3 months for the right person

 a reluctance to complete the interview process through Skype/telephone interviews

 a lack of knowledge of where and how to obtain the above knowledge

The most successful companies (these are not always the larger companies) currently recruiting

from abroad seem to have accepted and embraced visa sponsorship requirements. They have

adapted their recruitment process accordingly, streamlining the process by knowing exactly what is

required at every stage. More importantly, they have accepted the fact that the process can take up

to 3 months from start to finish.

In conclusion, over the past 12 months, the market has experienced a large increase in demand in the

above areas. Large organisations are moving to open source development languages and companies

who currently programme in this area are expanding and recruiting. Companies recruiting Python

and Ruby on Rails Developers will be competing for a small pool of talent. It is those who are

prepared to evolve with the recruitment market and embrace the changes are those who will land

the Messis and Ronaldos of the software development world.

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