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OLYMPIA – The 2021-2023 fiscal biennium operating appropriations bill (SB 5092) requires the Employment Security Department (ESD) to produce a report by November 5, 2021, on the feasibility of replicating the existing Unemployment Insurance program to serve individuals not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits due to immigration status.

To meet this requirement, ESD will convene and meet at least three times with a group of eight to ten external stakeholders. The group will be comprised of representatives from geographically diverse immigrant advocacy groups, labor organizations with a statewide presence, workers’ rights groups, and legal and policy advocacy groups focused on immigration and employment law. If you meet these criteria and are interested in participating in the development of this report, please email ESDGPUWR@ESD.WA.GOV by June 1, 2021, providing your name, organization you represent and reason you wish to contribute to the report.

The purpose of the report, as detailed in the legislation, is to identify programmatic differences that would mitigate barriers to access, reduce fear of participation, and identify the operational and caseload costs associated with the replication of the Unemployment Insurance program. If using a replica of the Unemployment Insurance program conflicts with federal law, the study shall assess the operational and caseload costs of similar social net programs that serve individuals regardless of their citizenship status.

Along with the external stakeholder group, ESD will work with the Departments of Labor and Industries, Social and Health Services, and Commerce, as well as the Office of the Governor, to produce the report.