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‘Win-Win’ Proposal Could Speed Up Hiring Of New Yorkers and Migrants, Fill Thousands Of Open Jobs, and Bolster Local Economies

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Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) is supporting a plan approved earlier this month by the state’s Civil Service Commission that could help fill many of the roughly 10,000 unfilled positions within state agencies. The effort would speed up the process for both qualified New Yorkers and new migrants who have legal permission to work to apply for state jobs, which would also bolster the local economy by addressing labor shortages. 

“Hochul is eyeing 4,000 entry-level posts that are currently unfilled within state agencies, including clerical or administrative roles, technical support, equipment service and repair and food services,” Spectrum News reports.

Under the plan, certain barriers would be eliminated, allowing qualified applicants to be hired temporarily  under a “transitional” title. Once they obtain the required qualifications, “and if their work performance has been satisfactory, agencies may appoint them to the target titles,” the Civil Service Commission said. 

Spectrum News reported that the state’s workforce has declined in recent years, a trend exacerbated by the novel coronavirus pandemic. “The creation of these transitional titles is a win-win for the State and its agencies to connect qualified and motivated individuals with meaningful jobs and opportunity; help solve the migrant crisis; and rebuild the State workforce,” the commission continued.

News of the plan comes as a recent Christian Science Monitor article highlighted by America’s Voice underscored how New York leaders and experts have agreed that expanding work authorization programs for migrants and asylum seekers can address labor shortages and bolster New York’s economy. 

During a press conference this week, Governor Hochul said she’s heard from business owners clamoring for this workforce potential, Spectrum News said:

“Hotel owners and restaurant owners coming to me: ‘Can you send some of the migrants up here? We need them.’ I hear this in every corner of the state,” Hochul said Tuesday at an Albany-based press conference when asked about the program.

Even one of the elected officials who has, at times, been a hindrance rather than a help throughout this process is on board. Spectrum News continues:

Mayor Eric Adams also likes the idea.

“I would love to get migrants and asylum seekers to help with the lifeguard shortage. We’ve been successful in getting almost 30,000 people to [file] applications, including work authorization, asylum, TPS — we want more,” he said Tuesday during a press conference at City Hall.

He said the key is to speed up the federal government’s long process that green lights work approval for the nearly 67,000 currently living in the city’s care.

New York City alone is home to more than 60,000 migrants who could be eligible for work permits and deportation relief under the Biden administration’s TPS extension and redesignation of Venezuela. 

“They will be able to get into the economic ecosystem of the city,” AID for AIDS Executive Director Jesús Aguais, himself an immigrant from Venezuela, said last year. “We will be able to fill [employment] positions in a legal way, people will be able to start paying taxes, and they will get out of the shelter system, although they are already getting out of the shelter system.” 

But because of the backlog at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it can take over a year for an immigrant who is eligible to receive work authorization. In Congress, bipartisan lawmakers have introduced legislation that would shorten the wait time to 30 days. The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act has received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

“We believe Congress can make meaningful progress to secure America’s borders and modernize the broken immigration system,” a letter from the Chamber said.

It can’t be stressed enough how allowing migrants to support themselves and their families will also benefit all of New York. Researchers “estimate $23 million in total wages and $2.6 million in state and local tax revenue is generated per 1,000 migrant workers within their first year,” the Immigration Research Initiative said in recent findings.

“This research offers a glimpse into the economic impact of the current wave of asylum-seeking families arriving in New York. Newly arriving immigrants will grow the economy and our tax base,” said Immigration Research Initiative Director David Dyssegaard Kallick. “People may take some time and need some aid in getting settled, but we ought to afford them grace and patience as they build upon the great legacy of immigrant contributions to New York and our country as a whole.”