(OPINION) Labor Shortages during the Pandemic and Beyond: What Role Can Immigration Policy Play?

As European countries seek to revive their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an acute labor shortage in a variety of sectors risks stopping the recovery in its tracks. Challenges recruiting truck drivers, warehousing workers, and other logistics staff have hobbled already strained supply chains. In the United Kingdom, these constraints (which exacerbate trends set in motion by Brexit and the end of free movement) have recently resulted in empty supermarket shelves and long lines for fuel. Efforts by the hospitality industry in France, Germany, and other European countries (and their counterparts in Canada and the United States) to recover from prolonged closures or furloughs have also sputtered as employers struggle to recruit enough restaurant and hotel workers. And the pandemic has added to longstanding difficulties recruiting and retaining health- and long-term care workers because of low pay and challenging working conditions.

Kate Hooper, Migration Policy Institute, October, 2021
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