Congress moved closer to comprehensive immigration reform in the days leading up to the Memorial Day recess as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send a bipartisan bill (S. 744) to the full Senate for consideration. NMHC/NAA applaud the effort to advance comprehensive reform; however, a few issues important to the apartment industry remain as the bill moves forward.
Of particular concern are provisions related to the proposed “W-visa” program for lesser skilled workers. The proposal calls for future caps on the number of visas provided through the worker visa program and an arbitrary 15,000 visas-per-year cap for construction jobs.
Given growing apartment demand, existing construction labor shortages and rising development costs, these limitations threaten the industry’s ability to not only fully recover from years of underbuilding but meet future demand. NMHC/NAA outlined these issues with the proposal in a May 21 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the eight-member, bipartisan group of senators championing the bill.