By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Last week New Jersey became the first east coast state to allow its residents access to occupational licenses notwithstanding immigration status. S. 2445 states:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule, or regulation, lawful presence in the United States shall not be required to obtain a professional or occupational license, provided the applicant meets all other requirements for licensure.
Just prior to signing the bill, in a Facebook Live event, Governor Murphy and several other supporters of the legislation discussed not only the emergent need to address labor shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the positive effect this measure will have on New Jersey’s post-pandemic workforce.
Supporters of the bill, including Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Paul Rodriguez, made statements highlighting frontline workers who stepped up when emergency measures permitted them to do-so; but who were otherwise unable obtain licensure due to the “lawful presence” requirement. Mr. Rodriguez explained that the purpose of licensing is to protect the public by ensuring that applicants meet education and training requirements to safely provide services and stated that,”immigration status should have no bearing on this.”
The progressive legislation was also praised as finally allowing qualified, trained, and highly skilled dreamers to work and as a way to motivate immigrant students to finish their education and make fuller contributions to New Jersey’s economy. Ensuring the future of all talented individuals, supporters hope S. 2445 will create a “stronger and fairer” New Jersey. Governor Murphy summarized the legislation as a “good idea, no matter what.”
It is our understanding that an implementation plan is currently underway to make adjustments to all professional licensure applications, however, if you have questions about compliance or the application process, Contact Us.