Chamber of Commerce Suggests Doubling Number of Legal Immigrants to Solve the Labor Shortage

In a recent conference, the chief executive of the United States Chamber of Commerce has stated that the U.S. should seek to double the number of legal immigrants in order to address its labor shortage.

According to the group’s chief executive and president, Suzanne Clark, the U.S. should grow jobs in order to address the nation’s immense labor shortage by increasing the immigrant workforce rather than simply transferring domestic workers between different industries.

According to Clark, by growing the overall size of the workforce rather than moving workers from one industry or skill level to another, the country’s economy can grow and remain competitive internationally. The chief executive stated that this would be attainable by doubling the number of foreign nationals legally immigrating to the U.S.

Further, Clark claimed that increasing the number of foreign national workers may be the fastest way to curb the supply chain issues which are driving the high inflation the U.S. is suffering from right now. These workers could fill critical roles in the supply chain, which are particularly suffering due to the labor shortage right now, such as truck drivers.

In addition to a drastic increase in legal immigrants to fill positions, Clark advocated for increased investment in artificial intelligence and similar technologies in order to increase competition in the labor market and help reduce the labor shortage. The role technology plays in the future labor market is an incredibly important topic as Clark stated, and the pandemic has created immense disruptions here as well. The group’s leader indicated that they will continue to advocate for governmental policies to support innovation in this area in order to help the economy’s efficiency and growth.

Notably, the labor shortage issue has continued to grow, with a recent record of 4.5 million workers quitting their jobs in November of last year. Though from October to November, the number of job openings dipped from an incredible 11.1 million jobs, it remained higher than any month prior to the start of the pandemic at 10.6 million. The news did not become much better in December, with the economy adding only 199,000 jobs which is one of the weakest figures reported since the new administration took office.

It remains to be seen whether or not the U.S. government will increase visa numbers for H-1B or many other employment visas in response to the labor shortage. There may be a chance of this, though, as the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor has recently announced that there would be 40,000 more H-2A visas available for the first half of 2022. This may signal more willingness to allow for foreign national workers in light of the shortage.

However, employers should keep in mind that hiring foreign national workers often comes with significantly more difficulties and pitfalls in completing Form I-9. Between confusing documentation requirements and the risk of discrimination claims, employers can face significant challenges. One of the best ways to help is by using an electronic I-9 management tool. These can help guide hiring personnel through the process and ensure documentation is stored correctly and ready for any future audits.

Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.