As Georgia officials look to solve the state’s worker shortage, it could have a solution hiding in plain sight: the many new residents who call the state home.

“Today, there are over 40 licensing boards housed under the Secretary of State, and the state licenses over 140 professions, including librarians, pre-needs cemetery salespeople and even auctioneers,” Marc Hyden, director of state government affairs for the R Street Institute, told state lawmakers during a recent state Senate Study Committee on Occupational Licensing. “But these mandates — they come with serious restrictions; they require prospective workers to clear various hurdles in order to get the government’s permission to earn a living.”

According to the Institute for Justice’s License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing, Georgia ranked 12th nationwide for its average burden surrounding occupational licensing requirements.

“Georgia, like much of the rest of the country, is facing some very severe workforce shortages and a possible recession in the coming months,” Hyden added. “And one of the surest ways to ease these issues and let Georgia’s economy continue to thrive is to curtail unnecessary government impediments to employment.”