Foreign driver’s license legislation a big move forward for global business
During this past legislative session, Georgia scored a victory for global business with the passage of SB 122- a bill that will allow for the extension of temporary driving privileges to foreign workers at Georgia companies.
It may sound small, but consider that every day around the state, foreign companies that have chosen to build a home in Georgia – and even local businesses that are attracting global talent – all have a myriad of back-end logistics to navigate when it comes to making sure foreign workers are in compliance with the law.
Previously, when a foreign worker’s visa expired, so did their Georgia driver’s license. That meant that, in those cases where a company wanted a worker to remain in the U.S. and renew their visa, suddenly that executive or prized employee was without a Georgia driver’s license during that visa renewal process.
The visa renewal process can take time, and that meant the worker had to depend on others to drive them around, for example, or had to arrange alternative transportation for their children to go to school – a logistical headache.
Our foreign companies and bi-national chambers spoke up about this – and we listened.
During the legislative session, a partnership of organizations, including MAC, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, foreign chambers of commerce and the Georgia Department of Driver Services, along with global company leaders, worked together to craft and pass legislation that would extend driving privileges during that visa renewal process.
The measure passed and now awaits the Governor’s signature. Additionally, a drivers’ license reciprocity bill sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce also passed, allowing Georgia to enter into agreements with certain countries to make it easier for international workers to obtain drivers’ licenses.
The passage of these legislative measures sends the right competitive message. We commend our legislature and Governor for their support.
The recruitment of foreign companies does not end with the landing of a company in Georgia. To truly be a great place in which to grow and foster international business and the recruitment of global, world-class talent, a state must listen to companies and work to continue to help them grow long after their offices have opened.
Georgia strives to remain competitive and offer a superior quality of life to foreign employees who call our state home. Most importantly – we listen and when concerns arise, we act.
As a result, we offer the best environment for international companies to achieve their highest level of success. At the end of the day it is about helping the economy continue to thrive and it’s about creating an environment for job growth.