SOURCE: Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - Feb 27, 2013) - As Congress debates immigration reform, it acts in the shadow of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Today, lawmakers would benefit from examining one of IRCA's shortcomings.
IRCA addressed stricter border enforcement, legalization of undocumented immigrants, and penalties on employers who hired persons unauthorized to work. While IRCA took these steps, it did not address improved legal paths for certain foreign workers.
Today, there is a mismatch between current law and labor needs regarding foreign temporary or permanent, low skilled workers. U.S. employers are limited to 66,000 non-agricultural temporary low-skilled workers yearly. An employer must prove that the temporary position meets narrow criteria, and that the employer's need and the temporary position will expire within 1 year. Processing takes more than 4 months for a work period of less than 1 year. And annual visa allotments are outstripped by U.S. employer demand. Worse, many U.S. employers don't offer temporary work that qualifies.
For low skilled workers to permanently immigrate, a U.S. employer must actively recruit U.S. workers. If no qualifying U.S. workers are found, the employer must make filings which take a year or more to decide. But there is a numerical problem. There are only 10,000 visas available annually for permanent low skilled workers, and the U.S. employer and the foreign national must wait five or more years for a visa number. And the foreign national cannot legally wait in nor work in the U.S. based on the employer's filings.
"IRCA failed to provide a legal way for significant numbers of low skilled workers to enter the U.S., temporarily or permanently," said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney. "If it had, there would already be a meaningful guest worker program to legally meet market segment-specific, temporary U.S. labor needs. Further, had IRCA provided a useable, legal path for low skilled workers to immigrate, we would have had a better match between long term U.S. foreign labor needs and legal foreign worker supply."
"Congress has the chance to fix IRCA's failure and address the country's current and future manpower needs by creating an effective temporary guest worker program, and provide a U.S. employer-friendly permanent path for positions in short supply," he said. "Otherwise, systemic immigration dysfunction will continue."
To learn more, contact an immigration lawyer at http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.