Perspective: EB-3 Visa Provides Route to Labor Solution

Immigration Program Complements Domestic Efforts to Close Truck Driver Shortage Gap

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Trucking companies are looking in many directions today as they attempt to steer through the demographic, regulatory and economic challenges at the root of a significant and persistent driver shortage.

Specialized training, technological advancements and new approaches to recruitment are among the industry’s strategies for overcoming a driver gap of 60,000, as estimated by American Trucking Associations, and likely to grow.

Increasingly, the search for drivers is moving beyond U.S. borders as immigration programs become a greater focal point. Through worker visa programs, trucking companies are accessing an expanded pool of motivated drivers trained for longhaul routes.

One such program, called Employment-Based Third Preference, or EB-3, allows trucking companies to sponsor foreign truck drivers to work permanently in the United States. To qualify, foreign national drivers must have full-time job offers from a U.S. carrier, and the employer must provide documentation showing that there are not enough qualified U.S. truck drivers available to meet their talent needs. The EB-3 program sets annual limits on visas and has a strict labor certification process to ensure that American truckers are protected.

How It Works

EB-3 is a three-step process involving the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

John E. Dorer


1. Employers first file a Program Electronic Review Management labor certification with the Labor Department to demonstrate that there is an insufficient number of available, qualified and willing U.S. workers to fill the position and that hiring the foreign national workers will not adversely affect U.S. workers’ wages and working conditions.

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2. Once the certification is approved, employers can then file an immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) with USCIS on behalf of the worker.

3. Finally, once the applicant’s priority date is current, the applicant can apply for the final permanent residence card, also called a green card, either within the United States or at a U.S. embassy outside the U.S.

Possible Benefits for Carriers

Trucking companies using the program consider a number of factors:

  • Stable workforce: Workers who come to the U.S. under the EB-3 visa typically have a commitment to long-term employment, as their visa status is linked to their job. This leads to a more stable workforce with lower turnover rates, which is a significant advantage in an industry with high turnover.
  • Specialized skills: Some foreign workers may bring specialized skills and driving experiences that are scarce in the local labor market.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While there are costs associated with the visa process, the long-term retention of these employees can offset these expenses. In comparison to the costs associated with high turnover, including recruiting, training and lost productivity, this can be a more cost-effective solution.
  • Diversity and innovation: An ethnically diverse workforce can introduce new perspectives and approaches to operations. This can foster innovation and may lead to improvements in safety, efficiency and problem-solving within the company.
  • Regulatory compliance: Hiring through the EB-3 visa program ensures that workers are legally authorized to work in the U.S., thus helping companies comply with labor laws and avoid legal issues related to unauthorized employment.
  • Enhanced reputation: Companies that successfully manage a multicultural workforce are often seen as desirable employers. This can bolster their reputation, both within the industry and with potential customers that value diversity and social responsibility.

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With the freight recession showing signs of softening, the need for truck drivers is likely to grow this year. Maintaining a steady flow of potential drivers will be a key for carriers to be prepared to compete in the market.

While the EB-3 program presents a viable solution to bring in those new drivers, it also requires careful management to ensure it complements domestic workforce development efforts. Trucking companies that are successfully pairing them together see a strategic solution to their labor shortages in the years ahead.

John E. Dorer is the CEO of, a New York-based firm that helps U.S. companies solve their chronic labor shortages by hiring qualified legal foreign workers through employer-sponsored green card programs, particularly the EB-3 visa program. His company is an approved supplier vendor with American Trucking Associations and the New York Trucking Association. Learn more at