CFDA: Immigrants Are “Essential” to the Fashion Industry

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recently hosted a joint press conference with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and members of the New York City Council, to announce the results of a report conducted in partnership with FWD.Us, a lobbying group founded by Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders, in response to the the Trump administration’s tough (and discriminatory) stance on immigration, and the effects it will have on retaining ‘essential’ foreign talent in the fashion industry.

Entitled, “Designing an Immigration System That Works,” the report found that immigrants continually bring fresh creativity and new business ventures, which in turn, create jobs for native-born Americans. At the same time, “42% of respondents found it difficult to hire foreign workers because they are uneducated about the immigration system and 17% have been unable to hire the best candidate for a job because of complications with the system.”

Considering the $900 million dollars the fashion industry contributes annually just to NYC’s economy, the CFDA feels there should be a separate visa program for fashion professionals, and an extension allotted to any foreign students studying design or fashion technology. The organization is also proposing an increase in HB1 visas, reforming the O-1 visa program, creating a new program for entrepreneurs, increasing funding for companies that recruit internationally, and, making a path to citizenship for undocumented garment workers, many of whom are highly trained tailors, pattern makers, and seamstresses.

You can read more about it at The Business of Fashion.

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