A recent report by the Urban Institute indicates that immigrant workers make up 17% of the American workforce, and much higher percentages in some cities and urban areas. These workers have been in the U.S. for 17 years, on average, and have a median age of 41. Just under 50% of these workers have limited English proficiency. Median annual wages for these workers are $29,407, but many wages are lower for those in lower-skilled jobs. Those immigrants in lower and middle-skilled jobs earn less than their American counterparts in the same jobs. About 25% of these workers have less than a high school diploma or its equivalent, which is a higher rate than for Americans, which is about five percent.
Immigrants fill many lower-skilled jobs that are necessary parts of our workforce, including home health care aides, custodial workers, and construction laborers. Limited English proficiency and difficulties transferring job skills, experience, and credentials from their native countries to the U.S. present barriers to obtaining better education, training, and employment. Immigrants also have limited opportunities to improve their language and technical skills that might enable them to seek better jobs or higher wages.
As there are currently low unemployment rates in the U.S., American employers increasingly need workers with bilingual and cultural skills. There also is a large need to fill mid-level jobs, which immigrants are just as likely to fill as American workers. While as many as one-third of immigrant workers hold advanced degrees, they often are underemployed in professional jobs due to an inability to transfer skills from a profession in one country to the same profession in the U.S.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.