Organizations of all shapes and sizes have been hiring immigrants from hundreds of different countries for various types of work for centuries. And right now, immigrants make up about 17% of the entire U.S. labor force, with most immigrants (both documented and undocumented) finding jobs in domestic-related, service-related, construction-related, and farming or agricultural fields.
It’s certainly no secret that hiring immigrants, whether documented or not, is an extremely contentious practice right now. So, if your organization is considering hiring immigrants right now, here are some things that you’ll want to know.
1. Changes in Employment-Based Green Cards
According to Pew Research, a current Senate Bill would replace the existing eligibility criteria for employment-based green cards with a point system similar to that proposed for family-based green cards; it’s called the EB-5 Program.
The new system would eliminate a green card for immigrant investors who put money into commercial U.S. enterprises that are intended to create jobs or benefit the economy. And according to a detailed article in The New York Times, it will work to cut legal immigration by half.
2. H-1B Visas
Nearly a quarter of all temporary work visas are H-1B visas and are issued to highly skilled and higher-paid foreign workers—those individuals who have attained at least a high school or specialized education and, more often, a college or university education.
Research indicates that there is a growing demand for H-1B visas and workers, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and that they are much more difficult to attain, as the application cap is typically reached within the first week of submissions and because the number of H-1B applications challenged by the federal government has increased significantly since 2016.
3. The Workforce Will Shrink in Size Without Immigrants
Recent reports suggest that without immigrants, the U.S. workforce will shrink in size by millions of workers by 2035, as the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire. Studies suggest that this is problematic because it will dramatically affect economic growth in the U.S., especially in key industries in which immigrants typically find jobs. Many industries, like farming and agriculture, will begin experiencing severe labor shortages soon.
4. The Undocumented Workforce Has Stopped Growing
According to Pew Research, since around 2009, the undocumented immigrant workforce inside the United States has started to steadily decline. And most unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. workforce are no longer from Mexico.
In fact, more Mexicans are seen leaving the U.S. than crossing the border into the country. And overall, the number of undocumented workers inside the U.S. seems to continue to decrease with each passing year.
Be sure to keep the information above in mind if your organization is considering hiring immigrants soon and as you monitor changes in the U.S. workforce.