April 19, 2023
Expediting Immigrant Labor Certification: What Are the Options?
Due to the ongoing labor shortage, employers are increasingly turning to foreign workers to fill job openings, but cannot rely on consistent, efficient access to these workers due to bureaucratic challenges associated with the immigration system. In a new insight, Labor Market Policy Analyst Isabella Hindley discusses reforms to the current system that would allow employers in industries facing the greatest labor shortages to more easily hire foreign workers.
- To hire foreign workers, employers must first complete a permanent labor certification (PERM) which, due to its current one-year processing time, makes supplementing native-born labor with immigrants an unrealistic solution to the U.S. labor shortage.
- Reforming the PERM process would provide a long-term solution to improve access to high-skilled immigrants but would likely be a lengthy process.
- In the meantime, updating the Department of Labor’s Schedule A, a list of occupations facing native-born worker shortages, to reflect current labor needs would allow many employers to bypass the PERM process and expedite the hiring of foreign workers.