Washington, DC – The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has announced its support of a robust temporary guest worker program to recruit legal, foreign-born individuals when there is a shortage of domestic workers to fill available positions. As negotiations continue on comprehensive immigration reform, Congress should consider reforms that would help revitalize the economy and residential construction.
Labor shortages are a challenge to the continued growth of the housing industry. Foreign-born individuals comprise 30% of all workers in construction trades, and in some specialties, are nearly half of all workers. A robust temporary guest worker program is needed to recruit legal immigrants for specialties where there is a clear shortage of domestic workers to meet existing demand.
A comprehensive immigration solution is needed that protects the nation’s borders; includes a market-based visa program to fill workforce gaps in residential construction; and provides a workable employment verification system that includes appropriate protections for small businesses.
“NLBMDA supports a temporary guest worker program as part of a comprehensive immigration plan,” said NLBMDA Chair Rick Lierz, President and CEO of Franklin Building Supply in Boise, Idaho. “A healthy home building industry needs legal immigrants to help meet the demand for skilled labor.”