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SHRM Advocacy

Workplace Immigration

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the comprehensive U.S. immigration statute, is in dire need of updating as the entire culture of work has shifted drastically since the last major amendment more than 30 years ago. The workplace immigration system should not continue to hinder the ability of U.S. workplaces to compete and thrive.

SHRM's Position on Workplace Immigration:

The workplace immigration system should not continue to hinder the ability of U.S. workplaces to remain competitive and thrive. Policymakers must advance commonsense policy solutions that remove barriers for U.S. companies to access educated, accessible and legally authorized workers.

As employers work to close the skills gap, it is critical they have the tools to hire a legal workforce and the ability to access top talent no matter where it is found in the world.

Emily M. Dickens, J.D., Chief of Staff, Head of Public Affairs, and Corporate Secretary


Workplace Immigration Research

In 2023, SHRM launched a comprehensive workplace immigration survey in consultation with policymakers from both sides of the political aisle, employment-based immigration experts and practitioners to guide vital policy decisions in modernizing the U.S. immigration system within the greater workforce landscape.  

HR professionals say that immigration:

Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) responding employers agree that increased immigration encourages economic growth and makes America more globally competitive. Over half (54%) of employers agree that the United States is losing top talent to other countries because of the U.S. immigration system. 

More than two-thirds (68%) of employers agree that they would benefit from a more streamlined process for organizations to access American-educated, foreign-born talent.

57% of organizations report that they would benefit from an increase in available and legally authorized workers on visas, with medium and large employers agreeing at even higher levels (63% and 68% respectively). Of organizations that have explored hiring foreign-born talent to address workforce shortages, nearly 2 out of 3 (65%) say it has been somewhat or very successful.

More than two-thirds (68%) say that the screening process to allow foreign-born workers to remain and work in the United States should be strenuous to address potential security concerns.

Over half (55%) agree that it is risky to invest in foreign-born talent because of the uncertainty in the immigration system and that they would be willing to invest time, effort and resources into pursuing foreign-born talent if there was more certainty in the system.

How Policymakers Can Modernize the U.S. Immigration System and Better Enable the Nation to Compete Globally

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  • Invest in all aspects of the immigration infrastructure 
  • Enable permanent electronic submissions of immigration petitions/forms 
  • Implement a known/trusted employer program 
  • Eliminate country caps for employment-based immigrant visas 
  • Streamline the issuance and adjudication of employment authorization documents 
  • Authorize automatic renewals of previously adjudicated applications 
  • Allow year-round eligibility of seasonal employment visas and release additional visas 
  • Create one reliable, entirely electronic, employment verification system 
  • Increase access to employment-based (EB) visas 
  • Ensure all EB visas are utilized through the recapturing of previously unused visas 
  • Provide more legal and regulatory consistency regarding the status of DACA recipients

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SHRM’s Workplace Immigration Priorities

Learn more by downloading SHRM’s workplace immigration priorities one-pager or contacting SHRM Government Affairs at