EB-3 visa program emerges as key solution for manufacturers facing tight labor market

There’s no doubt the manufacturing industry has bounced back impressively in job growth since the pandemic.

The industry has added 800,000 jobs since 2021 and had a total of 12.9 million in May of this year, above the pre-pandemic monthly average of 12.6 million, according to the Bureau of Labor.

Despite that growth, however, anxiety is running high at manufacturing companies, which still have 516,000 job openings. In the National Association of Manufacturing’s first-quarter outlook survey, 65% of companies said attracting and retaining a quality workforce was their top challenge, the biggest concern cited in the survey.

Moreover, research from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute suggests the industry could see a net need for as many as 3.8 million jobs over the next 10 years, driven by economic growth. Without improved recruitment and retention strategies, 1.9 million of those jobs could go unfilled.


So, how can manufacturers meet this formidable challenge?

Companies are pursuing a variety of strategies to incorporate more automation, attract younger workers, tailor training opportunities, create flexible scheduling and boost pay and benefits.

Immigration programs are also increasingly becoming a focal point. Through worker visa programs, manufacturers can access an expanded pool of employees.

One such program, called Employment-Based Third Preference, or EB-3, allows manufacturing companies to sponsor foreign employees to work permanently in the United States in skilled or unskilled positions, including assembly worker roles.

To qualify, foreign nationals must have full-time job offers from a U.S. company, and the employer must provide documentation showing that there are not enough qualified U.S. workers readily available to meet their talent needs. The EB-3 program sets annual limits on visas and has a strict labor certification process to ensure that American workers are protected.


The companies using the program consider a number of factors:

Stable workforce: Workers who come to the U.S. under the EB-3 visa typically have a commitment to long-term employment, as their visa status is linked to their job. This leads to a more stable workforce with lower turnover rates, which is a significant advantage in an environment where companies are competing fiercely for workers.

Cost-effectiveness: While there are costs associated with the visa process, the long-term retention of these employees can offset the expenses. In comparison to the costs associated with high turnover, including recruiting, training and lost productivity, this can be a more cost-effective solution.

Specialized skills: Some foreign workers may bring specialized skills and experiences that are scarce in the local labor market.

Diversity and innovation: An ethnically diverse workforce can introduce new perspectives and approaches to operations. This can foster innovation and may lead to improvements in safety, efficiency and problem-solving within the company.

Regulatory compliance: Hiring through the EB-3 visa program ensures that workers are legally authorized to work in the U.S., thus helping companies to comply with labor laws and avoid legal issues related to unauthorized employment.

Enhanced reputation: Companies that successfully manage a multicultural workforce are often seen as desirable employers. This can bolster their reputation, both within the industry and with potential customers who value diversity and social responsibility.

As forward-thinking manufacturers explore innovative workforce solutions, sponsoring foreign workers through the EB-3 visa program is emerging as a valuable component. By tapping into global talent pools, companies can mitigate the impact of labor shortages, ensure the continuity of their operations and contribute to the overall growth and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.


About eb3.work

eb3.work is a firm that helps U.S. manufacturers and other companies solve their chronic labor shortages by hiring qualified legal foreign workers. The New York-based firm is committed to delivering efficient, ethical and effective solutions that address the dual challenges of labor shortages and immigration complexities. With a team of immigration attorneys and recruiters, and through proprietary technology and specialized business processes, eb3.work simplifies the employment pathway for foreign nationals while helping U.S. employers overcome labor scarcity.


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