New York State plans to employ 4,000 illegal immigrants under adjusted hiring criteria

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By Carina

The New York government is actively considering a novel approach to address its workforce shortage by altering job qualifications. This initiative aims to fill around 4,000 state job vacancies with illegal immigrants with federal work permits. 

A recent memo from the New York Department of Civil Service, which received approval this month, outlines this strategy.

Addressing workforce shortages with new hiring strategies

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Most identified positions are entry-level roles in various sectors, such as mental and physical disability care, maintenance, food service, automotive repair, and office assistance. 

The memo, first disclosed by Bloomberg News, recognizes three main hurdles that illegal immigrants face in securing these jobs: verification of educational achievements, limited English proficiency, and difficulty validating foreign employment experience.

To overcome these challenges, the Civil Service Department plans to establish “transitional” titles. These positions will have modified requirements better suited to the candidates’ current qualifications. 

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New York’s temporary job strategy for migrants to boost workforce

The memo explains, “Appointments to such positions would be temporary,” allowing time for individuals to acquire the necessary credentials for permanent roles. 

The department believes this approach offers a dual benefit: providing meaningful employment to motivated individuals and helping to alleviate the migrant crisis while rebuilding the state’s workforce.

Efforts to integrate illegal immigrants into workforce

In December, the New York Department of Labor identified 39,456 private-sector job openings suitable for illegal immigrants. 

This identification is part of a broader effort to transition thousands of illegal immigrants from government care to independent living. 

As of late August 2023, businesses across the state have expressed willingness to employ illegal immigrants with legal work papers. 

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Governor Hochul addresses immigrant employment

Beau Duffy, a spokesperson for the Labor Department, stated, “There is no requirement for employers or asylum seekers to report back to us if they have hired an asylum seeker or become employed.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has emphasized the need to address both the illegal immigrant crisis and the workforce shortage concurrently. 

In an October 2023 press conference, she highlighted the urgency of finding employment for over 125,000 individuals who, until recently, were ineligible to work and relied on public support. 

Since her address, the number of illegal immigrants in New York City has risen to 150,000, with about 67,000 still under city care.

Broader implications of new employment policies

Paso Usa October 2023 Migrants Sent Cities United States America — Stock Photo, Image
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This initiative aligns with federal moves, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelan nationals who entered the U.S. before July 31, 2023. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in the TPS designation announcement, stressed, “It is critical that Venezuelans understand that those who have arrived here after July 31, 2023, are not eligible for such protection, and instead will be removed when they are found to not have a legal basis to stay.” 

This policy change is expected to impact up to 472,000 Venezuelan nationals nationwide, with an estimated 15,000 in New York City’s shelters qualifying for TPS.

New York leads in immigration policy with TPS extension for Venezuelans

The move to extend TPS to Venezuelans reportedly came after intense lobbying from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and others, seeking federal intervention to alleviate the pressure on the city’s shelter system. 

This unfolding scenario in New York reflects the complex interplay of immigration, employment, and social welfare policies at the state and federal levels. 

As New York ventures into this new territory of workforce management, it sets a precedent for how states might navigate similar challenges in the future.

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