The governor of California, Governor Jerry Brown, has signed several key pieces of legislation this year that will improve the lives of undocumented immigrants living in the state. The latest refers to employment immigration issues, specifically regarding professional licensing applications. This is going to be a game changer as far as the types of jobs undocumented immigrants will be able to obtain after completing their education.
Under these changes to California laws, undocumented immigrants with specialized training or education may now be able to apply for a professional license in order to work in that field. Before this legislation was signed, undocumented immigrants would have had to supply a Social Security number in order to apply for professional licensing. Now, a taxpayer identification number can be used instead, which is considerably easier to obtain.
It is unknown if this new law will spur similar changes in other states. Currently, federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from being granted professional licensing. However, states are allowed to decide for themselves and enact laws like the one just passed in California.
Employment immigration does have its issues, and California and the rest of the country have a long way to go before all of these issues are ironed out. Be that as it may, this step taken by California lawmakers will give those already living in the country a better opportunity to obtain gainful employment in their field of study. As this is new legislation, there may be some problems at first; however, legal assistance is available as needed to help undocumented residents get through this process.
Source: thinkprogress.org, “Some Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Apply For Professional Licenses In California“, Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Oct. 2, 2014