Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs
This division of the State Labor Department addresses the needs, issues, and challenges of immigrants by:
- Doing outreach in immigrant communities
- Reviewing policies, procedures, and laws that affect immigrants
- Monitoring compliance with labor laws by farms and farmers in the state
Why do we need a Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs?
Immigrants are a vital and growing part of the state’s workforce. New York State ranks second in the nation in both:
- Total number of foreign-born workers
- Share of all workers who are foreign-born
In 2009, immigrants were:
- 2.45 million residents (27%) of the state’s workforce
- 1.9 million residents (43%) of New York City’s workforce
Immigrants make up a growing part of the employer and business owner communities. Immigrant entrepreneurs across the state are creating jobs and contributing to regional economic revival and growth. Nationally, immigrants make up only 12% of self-employed workers, but in New York City the figure is 49% and in New York State the figure is 25%. At the local level, immigrant business owners boost the economy in a very real way. The 10 New York City neighborhoods with the highest level of immigrant residents had stronger economic growth than the rest of the city between 2000 and 2007.
Although immigrants account for over $200 billion in annual economic output in New York, they are often wary of government, which keeps them from accessing key protections and services. This is due to several factors:
- English is not their first language
- They don’t know how government can help
- They fear government (based on life in their home country)
- They cannot get to government agencies during office hours
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