PHOTOS COURTESY OF Harvey Law Group
As COVID-19 wanes and the pilot shortage in the US comes roaring back, experienced foreign pilots have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in the US without obtaining a job offer or labour certification. The opportunity came about in April this year, as the US government recognised in a statement that it is of national interest to ease the travel and border control rules for foreign pilots and aircrew.
Jean-Francois Harvey, Global Managing Partner of leading business immigration law firm Harvey Law Group, finds the government’s statement to be in response to the looming pilot shortage crisis in the US.
“Numerous reports predict that there will be a shortage of over 12,000 pilots by 2023 and the country will need a total of 65,000 new pilots in the next 10 years to meet the demand for air travel,” says Harvey. “Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts that the US will need to recruit 87 new airline pilots every day for the next 20 years to meet the growing demand.” The lack of pilot availability can be felt in the US even today. In the last five months alone, Delta Airlines cancelled nearly 100 flights and American Airlines cancelled over 300 flights due to a shortage of pilots.
“As the demand for professional pilots continues to rise, foreign pilots holding the appropriate background may now apply for a green card for themselves and their families through the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Programme,” Harvey says.
“The growing demand for pilots in the US has made it much easier for foreign pilots to meet the required criteria. So long as an applicant can demonstrate that he/ she has the skills, experience and education the US needs to address its pilot shortage problem, the applicant likely qualifies for a green card without securing a job offer. A petition typically takes only 8 to 10 months to process.”
A number of factors have contributed to the pilot shortage situation in the US. It started with restrictive hiring practices, but the situation snowballed as the industry found it difficult to replace their ageing pilot workforce in view of the profession’s increasingly strict experience requirement. In response to the situation, some US airlines are offering newly hired pilots up to US$20,000 in signing bonuses, and providing a 30-40% raise in salaries to their commercial pilots.
“Over the past two months, we have received a sharp increase in queries from foreign pilots looking to move to the US. We encourage those interested in the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Programme to speak to one of our lawyers as soon as possible as this prime opportunity hinges on the prevailing shortage,” Harvey concludes.
If you are an experienced pilot and would like further advice on the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Programme, contact DB resident Jean-Francois Harvey at www.harveylawcorporation.com.Tags: green cards, harvey law, pilots, us