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Lack of immigrant workers concerns both contractors, employees

Those in Miami and elsewhere across the country listening in to what's being said about immigration reform already know that one of the issues being reviewed in this legislation is employment immigration. Many often fail to realize the impact that immigrant workers have on certain aspects of the American economy. While the professions most talked about by lawmakers seem to center on highly-skilled jobs such as doctors, engineers, and executives, it's the lower-level blue-collar workers that seem to be in short supply. That may soon change, as more and more construction contractors are discovering a shrinking pool of available workers and are taking these concerns to local lawmakers.

One of the industries that's in desperate need of more workers is construction, where fewer local residents wanting to pursue careers in construction coupled with employment green card restrictions has left contractors all over the country worried about filling out their crews. While some have been able to still take on undocumented workers, those construction firms dealing with government contracts are subject to a federal screening system meant that weeds out illegal workers. With nearly a quarter the construction industry's workers being classified as "undocumented," one can imagine how shorthanded that leaves those companies subject to screening.

Those contractors wanting to employ only legal, documented workers need to see either the annual allotment of employment green cards increased for laborers, or to have the current approval process streamlined, as currently many applicants are required to wait years before their case is ruled upon. These topics have both been addressed as part of the larger current immigration reform discussion. As Congress prepares to reconvene, the hope is that the discussion over the proposed legislation that stalled in the House last year will again be revived. Until them, those looking for information on employment-based immigration options for friends and family may wish to speak with an immigration attorney. 

Source: The Denver Post "Lack of immigration reform means worker shortage for Colorado builders" Nancy Lofholm, Jan, 10, 2014

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