During the past few months, companies and large organizations that have a stake in immigration reform have been forming coalitions and creating their own campaigns to raise awareness for what they feel should be included in the new reform. The International Franchise Association is one of these groups that has just launched an integrated advocacy campaign to "voice the needs of franchise business owners in the national debate over immigration reform."
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Franchise owners would like to see a market-driven solution to the immigration system. For most chain restaurants, they require low skilled workers and would like the new bill to ensure “an ample supply of essential, lesser-skilled” workers that would be accessible to the franchise owners. IFA president and CEO Steve Caldeira and Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders penned a column in the Wall Street Journal advocating for a new guest worker program that allows employers to adjust labor to the economic conditions. Additionally, the president of the Law Vegas-based Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop Inc., Patrick Walls, wrote that “America's economic future depends on franchises such as Capriotti's being able to invest, expand and hire. Comprehensive immigration reform could be the catalyst that drives that growth, as long as it is actually comprehensive and true reform."
Franchise Industry Leaders are holding discussions about the current workforce limitations and the potential impact of immigration reform that would further limit guest workers. IFA is starting a tour to get local franchisees to hear about the topic throughout the country and call their local representatives to tell them which way they should vote. IFA’s campaign has already met in 20 different offices with members of both the House and the Senate. While Congress recently released a statement saying the “Gang of Eight” has come to a compromise regarding guest workers, not many specific details have been released making many companies that rely mainly on guest or low-skilled workers for their labor nervous. The way the immigration bill is written has the potential of having a huge impact for their businesses.
No indication that Missouri franchisees are assisting in this effort. I would be interested to hear from local restauranteurs about how this might affect the labor pool in St. Louis.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.