Guest Opinion: Immigration Reform Will Relieve Florida Workforce Shortage

Today, more than ever, Florida has been transformed into a thriving economic powerhouse. Companies continue to flock here, and we’re launching more businesses than any other state in America. More businesses mean more jobs, but that is where our state’s challenge lies. There are not enough workers to fill all the open positions or meet the needs of consumers.

For example, the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) rebounded from an all-time low of 53,379 passengers in April 2020 to set a record yearly high of 10,322,434 passengers from May 2021 to December 2021. We need to meet the demands of our tourism industry for our long-term economic vitality. Without action during this labor shortage, we risk our economic future.

The good news is there is an obvious solution built into the foundation of our state’s economy.

Florida is widely known as a haven for immigrants. People from across the world, drawn by the unique and unparalleled opportunities afforded by the Sunshine State, have moved here and built lives for themselves. In the process, they have helped build one of the strongest economies in the world.

Today, burdensome and outdated government regulations force many immigrants to stay on the sidelines instead of filling open positions and contributing to our continued economic growth. This oversight wastes an opportunity to ensure that Florida’s businesses have the employees they need.

Immigration reform would open the doors of opportunities for many professionals from countries in Latin America and beyond to fill critical positions in Florida. Currently, the process for a work or resident visa is quite lengthy and costly. Streamlining the immigration process can help alleviate the wait on getting candidates for many jobs that are critical to our growing economy and tourism industry.

But immigration reform is not the only solution. We should also streamline the ESOL (English as a Second Language) classes process for immigrants already in the U.S. who attend these classes to learn English as a Second Language.

By Janeth Castrejon
read full article HERE

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