Georgia restaurants see labor shortage as immigration law takes effect

Survey reveals opposition to new state law

A survey conducted by the Georgia Restaurant Association reveals that nearly half of the state’s restaurants are experiencing difficulty in hiring workers since Georgia’s new anti-illegal immigration law went into effect in April. The state has the seventh-highest number of illegal immigrants in the country, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Ninety-one percent of survey respondents said they were opposed to the state’s immigration reform, which penalizes job applicants who have false identification and requires certain employers to use the federal E-Verify program to confirm work eligibility.

The state’s $14.1 billion restaurant industry has been highly critical of the immigration law and is concerned it will create additional costs for small businesses. Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she will send the survey results to lawmakers soon.

“We could have saved a lot of time and a lot of money and dealt with this issue a lot more effectively if business and government had worked together as a coalition and petitioned our federal government to change things and to correct failed policy,” she said.

Georgia’s farm industry also as reported labor shortages since the law went into effect. According to a separate survey, farmers reported 11,080 job openings last month.

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