The Trucking Industry Turning to Immigration Programs to Ease the Driver Shortage

There’s no surprise that the U.S. has been experiencing a shortage of drivers in 2021, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and early retirement. The U.S. has been struggling to meet the demand and lower inflation. The Biden Administration has been looking abroad to correct the supply chain by easing immigration certification processes and hoping to have foreign drivers trained and out on the road.

The truck driver shortage across the U.S. has been at an all-time high this year and is expected to continue. With the mismatch between readily available supply and demand, the trucking industry has become the most acute bottleneck in the supply chain. Companies are seeking alternative options to meet the truck driver demand. With the driver shortage expected to worsen, companies are looking abroad to immigrant labor from Mexico, Europe, South Africa, and Canada.

“For the first time in her 10-year trucking career, Holly McCormick has found herself coordinating with an agency in South Africa to source foreign drivers. A recruiter for Groendyke Transport Inc., McCormick has doubled her budget since the pandemic and still is having trouble finding candidates.” Seeking foreign drivers to fill empty positions comes with other immigration obstacles, including visa restrictions.

The Biden Administration has been trying to correct the supply chain in the trucking industry by improving driver retention and reduce turnover. The trucking industry has also lowered the minimum age to 18 from 21 for interstate drivers and is working on bypassing immigration certification processes to quicken the hiring and training process for foreign drivers.

Andre Owen the CEO of A&M Transport is looking to address their driver shortage with immigrant labor stated, “They all have verifiable truck driving experience. The only thing we need to do is teach them to drive on the right side of the road, and they’re good to go.”

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