Lack of Work Visas for Immigrants Threatens to Paralyze US Industries

At end-April there were 10.1 million job vacancies, according to the US Office of Labor Statistics

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June 30, 2023 | 11:50 AM

Bloomberg Línea — More than 100 business and industry owners have alerted US President Joe Biden to the effect that the current labor shortage could have on US industries.

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In a letter to Biden, 126 employers stated: “We respectfully request that you expand a special category of immigration permits for people who can fill positions where labor shortages exist, for people migrating to the US and long-term immigrant taxpayers such as Dreamers, agricultural workers and essential workers”.

The employers are grouped under the umbrella of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC).

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of April there were 10.1 million job openings in the country.


“Economists estimate that nearly half of the workers missing from the labor market are due to two years of lost immigration, half of the workers missing from the labor force,“ the ABIC letter states.

In May, the US Chamber of Commerce indicated that between 20% and 60% of jobs remained unfilled in key sectors, including manufacturing, wholesale and retail, financial services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

Thus, the extension of work permits would not only help to meet labor demand but also lower inflation, according to ABIC employers.


Representatives Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Spencer Cox of Utah would allow states to apply for work visas for immigrant workers for specific jobs.

Senators Bob Menendez and Dick Durbin also support the idea, as does New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

“We need more workers or we’re in big trouble.” said Janille Baker, controller of Baker Ranch, located in Utah and Nevada.

“Agriculture in my region and across the country is so understaffed that the U.S. is about to become a net importer of agricultural products for the first time in history. That means we will import more food than we will export, and that’s not good for growth or national security. A nation that can’t feed itself is not secure.”

Employers are turning to President Biden for relief as frustration over congressional inaction on immigration reform intensifies.

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