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Pou-Cryan Bill to Expand Access to Professional and Occupational Licenses Clears Senate

Trenton – In an effort to expand access to professional and occupational licenses in New Jersey, the Senate passed legislation today that would remove immigration status as a requirement in the licensure process.

“In the midst of the pandemic our state extended emergency licenses to qualified men and women that call New Jersey home but have not been able to work due to their immigration status,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “These frontline workers stepped up when our state needed them the most, and they should be able to take their exam and be licensed professionals, regardless of their immigration status, even after we defeat the virus.”

Under the bill, S-2455, lawful presence in the United States would not be required to obtain a professional or occupational license, if an applicant meets all the other requirements for licensure.

“This will help remove barriers that limit the ability of trained professionals to perform jobs they are trained and qualified for,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “They can make important professional and economic contributions to the communities they live and work in. For example, there are an estimated 6,000 immigrants with nursing degrees who are ready and willing to help provide medical care to those in need. We should welcome their service.”

If New Jersey made this legislation law it would become the 15th state in the nation to remove this barrier, joining states like New York, California, South Dakota, Florida and West Virginia.

“There are a million non-citizens in New Jersey, it is time we lift this artificial ceiling on their potential,” Senator Pou concluded.

The bill was release from the Senate by a vote of 27-10.