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Policy Watch - Immigration

Building the workforce of today and tomorrow means being able to hire, train and retain the employees who have the skills to get the job done no matter where they were born or where they are in the world. From temporary, low-skilled workers to foreign graduates of local universities to globetrotting senior executives, employers need efficient, predictable and flexible immigration policies that enable them to effectively manage talent and compete in a global economy.  

Immigration has historically been a difficult issue for nations to navigate, and that is no different today. Headlines from around the world signal instability and unpredictability—from the refugee crisis in Europe to legislative gridlock in Washington, D.C. Pending U.S. regulatory changes, a patchwork approach to employment verification in the United States, scrutiny of international labor recruitment and an ever-evolving landscape of policies worldwide make an employer’s ability to manage global talent—both in the United States and abroad—as uncertain as ever.

Current Issues

The following specific issues are of particular concern to human resource executives and the organizations they serve:

  • Executive Orders on Immigration. On Friday, January 27, President Trump signed an executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which includes a ban on entry for foreign nationals from seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen).
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  • Employment-Based Immigration in the United StatesIt is widely acknowledged that the U.S. immigration system needs an overhaul. Demand for temporary H-1B visas far outstrips supply, leaving employers without options to hire the foreign-born graduates of America’s top universities. Green card backlogs frustrate talented professionals who may have to wait a decade or more to settle permanently in the United States, and even fewer options exist for employers seeking to hire low-skilled workers. 
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  • Electronic Employment Verification. Effective worksite enforcement is central to immigration reform. While U.S. employers are committed to hiring only work-authorized individuals, today they are confronted with a patchwork of federal and state employment verification requirements that is confusing and can be defeated by workers presenting stolen identities. 
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  • International Labor Recruitment. In an attempt to stop human trafficking, various proposals have been advanced at the international, federal and state levels to regulate international labor recruitment. 
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