Georgia Immigration Laws Overwhelm Occupational Licensing Bureaucracy

New rules that went into effect this year to crack down on illegal immigrants require Georgians to prove they are in the country legally before receiving or renewing occupational licenses.

This has resulted in some unexpected difficulties for librarians, massage therapists, geologists, and others who need a government permission slip to work.

According to The New York Times:  

Things are so jammed at the secretary of state’s office that renewing a state license for some of the 200 professions that require one is taking weeks instead of days. For some brand-new nurses, the wait for a license can stretch into three months.

… people who used to renew online must now find and send in what the state deems a secure and verifiable document: a copy of a driver’s license, a passport, a green card or other government-issued ID.

“The fact of the matter is that in our agency we’ve taken a streamlined process we’ve had in place and made it more bureaucratic,” said Brian Kemp, the secretary of state.

Even a call to ask about how to get a license or why things are taking so long has become a problem. State licensing workers can answer only about three-quarters of the nearly 459,000 calls that come into the call center in a year because the new requirements are bringing more questions and arrived during a period of recession-driven staff cuts, Mr. Kemp said.

… the state licenses 475,000 people over all. Although not all of them renew at the same time, the new step requires hand-checking each application for the correct documents. Before, much of the process was automated.

And despite efforts by the state’s professional boards to educate people about the new requirements, more than 8,300 applications have arrived without proof of citizenship or legal residency so far this year. Each of those applicants had to be contacted and asked to provide the correct documents.

…“Unfortunately, government makes these laws and regulations at the legislative levels, but they don’t make the adjustments at the do-it level,” said Henry Williams Jr., a licensed hearing aid dispenser in Gainesville, Ga., who recently retired from the state board that oversees the hearing aid business.

According to a study by the Institute for Justice, a national nonprofit law firm based in Arlington, Virginia, Georgia’s licensing laws are the 18th most burdensome for low- and moderate-income occupations in the nation.   

Reason has covered both harmful occupational licensing restrictions and state immigration laws.

Disclosure: I am a former Institute for Justice employee and contributed to the study cited.

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  • Rasilio||

    "harmful occupational licensing restrictions"

    Isn't that redundant?

    I mean I thought it was generally understood around here (if unfortunately not many other places) that ALL occupational licensing restrctions were inherently harmful to everyone but those licensed?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You don't get into cocktail parties railing against occupational licensing.

  • robc||

    You do if Im hosting it.

  • sarcasmic||

    He said "cocktail", not "cock tail".

    Subtle, I know.

  • tarran||

    I mean I thought it was generally understood around here (if unfortunately not many other places) that ALL occupational licensing restrctions were inherently harmful to everyone but those licensed?

    ... which is what the links they provide in that statement all point to.

  • R C Dean||

    Two thoughts:

    (1) Librarians? Seriously?

    (2) Reminds me of an almighty clusterhump I ran into awhile back, where all nurse licenses expired and had to be renewed on the same anniversary date. Naturally, the agency got backed up, and we had to get (as I recall) the Governor to step in to extend the licenses, lest all the hospitals in the state be forced to close their doors. We wound up amending the licensing so that a nurse's renewal date was his/her birthday.

  • tarran||

    The joys of living in a free country, where no man is required to get government permission to work.

  • sarcasmic||

    No. That's anarchy.

    In a free country people ask permission and do what they're told.

  • sarcasmic||

    (1) Librarians? Seriously?

    Hey now!
    My cousin spend lots of time and money to get her Masters degree in Library Science (true story)!
    And you'd let just anyone claim to be a librarian?
    That's an insult to those who have put forth the time and effort to be a true library scientist!
    Shame on you!

  • Brett L||

    Nobody is saying that the Librarians' Guild can't have their own standards for who is and isn't in the guild. We just think its okay for, say, a school board to not give a shit whether their particular librarian is guild certified.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's the point of a guild if people can choose to hire non-guild members?

    It's much fairer to eliminate that choice through licensing laws.

    That way you know that only qualified people may be legally hired.

  • Rasilio||

    The funny thing is a "True Library Scientist", if they are good at it, are worth their weight in gold and should never settle for the low paying crappy job of being a school or public librarian.

    Their skills in archiving, cataloging, and researching data are invaluable in corporate America.

  • sarcasmic||

    My cousin does it for the love of the job. Seriously.

  • SugarFree||

    The vast majority of library workers in public libraries don't have MLSs. Of course, this is changing as the glut of MLS grads run headlong into the Non-Retiring Workforce.

  • sarcasmic||

    They can always work at a bookstore.

  • SugarFree||

    With the puppeteers.

  • Brett L||

    I'm always surprised at how poorly the people I meet in the tech fields with IS degrees understand "Information" and "Systems". There have been one or two exceptions, but IS seems to be the business degree of choice for people who can pass Calc I. Of course, most of my interaction with said people involved me giving the "Why we can't change your IT architecture on a whim for an end of the week deadline" lecture to government project managers, so I may not have the best picture.

  • ||

    I blame the archivists.

  • SugarFree||

    Me too. Hey! Wait a minute!

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The problem mostly seems to be the occupational licensing, not the immigration enforcement. 475K is about 5% of Georgia's 10M population. That's ridiculous.

  • Brandybuck||

    Just pass another law. Problem solved. Geez.

  • Raston Bot||

    Well the alternative is some guy w/ a funny name would have a job in GA. That would be pure hell on earth.

  • ||

    Indeed. That job is Newt's until he gives it up.

  • robc||

    Not Saxby Chambliss?

    It thought he took it from Newt.

  • JW||

    Even a call to ask about how to get a license or why things are taking so long has become a problem. State licensing workers can answer only about three-quarters of the nearly 459,000 calls that come into the call center in a year because the new requirements are bringing more questions and arrived during a period of recession-driven staff cuts, Mr. Kemp said.

    They should outsource the call center to India.

  • Paul.||

    This has resulted in some unexpected difficulties for librarians, massage therapists, geologists, and others who need a government permission slip to work.

    You know, we really deserve the country we live in. Everything is coming down to permission.

    It was considered a major milestone when a certain segment of society finally got permisson from the government to have a fulfilling relationship with the person they love. Cool, Mom and Dad will let me date whomever I want now!

    We're a society of people who ask for permission and consider it a great victory for democracy in the rare case it's granted.

  • ||

    joe from Lowell says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:38 am
    Matt,

    Don’t get suckered by the IJ. They seize on cute, fuzzy poster boys in order to push radical changes to the law in the service of corporate deregulation.

    “Simply put, the government is not allowed to require people to get a license in order to talk.”

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.

  • ||

    Where did you find this?

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank u

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