Immigrants get easier pathway to work professionally

Undocumented immigrants who gain professional degrees in schools in the United States often find that difficult to translate into getting the necessary licenses to do professional work within the country, but that could be changing as New York and a number of other states take steps to get rid of the obstacles faced.

The Board of Regents in New York, which licenses or certifies over 50 different kinds of professionals such as architects, doctors, interior designers, nurses and teachers, elected toward the end of February to change the regulations so as to allow undocumented immigrants on the deferred action program to put in applications. The new regulations will receive a final decisive vote on June 1 and, if passed, will take effect immediately.

Professional licenses in New York have previously been limited to people with US citizenship or at least legal immigration status by a state statute. The deputy counsel for Latino Justice PRLDEF, Jose Perez, says licenses should not be withheld from those who go to college and gain degrees.

New York is not the first state to have taken such steps. Back in 2014, a law was passed in California to make it easier for undocumented immigrants in certain professions to gain professional licenses, the state of Nevada has opened up licenses for teachers and law licenses are being given to beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, according to the National Immigration Law Center’s Tanya Broder.