Reforms to the immigration system are an important component in workforce development, because the immigrant workforce plays a critical role in meeting the nation’s housing needs. In fact, immigrants account for 30% of all workers in construction trades, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Ensuring a consistent, reliable influx of new workers is important in an industry that is continuing to grow. Even as we encourage America’s youth to consider careers in the building trades, we must also pursue immigration policies that complement ongoing vocational training efforts and help fill labor gaps to ensure that the nation has a workforce that can meet its housing construction needs.
NAHB supports immigration reform that protects the nation’s borders. In addition, it must:
- Ensure that employers continue to be responsible only for verifying the identity and work authorization of their direct employees – and not the employees of their subcontractors.
- Create an efficient temporary construction industry guest-worker program that allows employers to recruit legal immigrant workers when there is a shortage of domestic workers.
Domestic workforce development is crucial to the future labor needs of the construction industry, but in the interim, Congress must approach immigration reform under the lens of American employers' urgent labor needs.