The Maine Division of Labor on Wednesday requested the federal authorities for a waiver to permit asylum seekers to get jobs whereas they wait for his or her instances to be heard.

Labor Secretary Laura Fortman mentioned eliminating the 180-day ready interval for work permits can be helpful for asylum seekers who wish to help themselves and for the state experiencing a workforce scarcity. Maine’s unemployment charge was 2.7% in September.

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Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed a bipartisan invoice in Could directing the Labor Commissioner to hunt an exemption as assets and housing are squeezed by newcomers. Portland, the most important metropolis in Maine, acquired greater than 1,600 asylum seekers this 12 months.

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The Maine Division of Labor has formally requested the federal authorities to permit asylum seekers to seek out work whereas their instances are pending.

“By permitting asylum seekers to work early, the state believes we are able to start to deal with — and mitigate — the monetary and different resource-based points confronted by the state and municipalities whereas addressing our workforce shortages and realizing asylum seekers’ dream of standing on equal footing. “They personal themselves and contribute to our neighborhood,” Fortman wrote in her letter.

There isn’t a provision in federal regulation to grant such a waiver, however there’s rising help for the concept.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is supporting separate payments sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chelly Pingree, D-Maine, and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to shorten the ready interval to 30 days.

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