A Brief History of Schedule A: The United States’ Forgotten Shortage Occupation List

By September 22, 2020

High-skilled labor shortages threaten the United States’ ability to compete internationally with both adversaries and allies in major industries, such as manufacturing and high technology. Many countries, like the United Kingdom and Canada, have adapted their immigration systems to make them as attractive to the limited global pool of highly skilled workers as possible, but the United States has not.

Experts on both sides of the aisle are developing solutions to make it easier to bring high-skilled workers to the United States, but immigration reform is an unfortunately divisive subject on Capitol Hill. Efforts to enact comprehensive immigration legislation have failed. In the meantime, regulatory tools which are already in place can make our immigration system more responsive to labor shortages. One of these tools is the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Schedule A list, today located at 20 C.F.R. § 656.5.

Schedule A aims to provide a regularly updated, data-driven list of occupations that, in DOL’s view, are experiencing labor shortages. Employers hiring in Schedule A occupations may more easily bring foreign workers permanently to the United States to fill those jobs.

Read the full article at the University of Chicago Law Review Online.