I am also recommending a separate initiative to develop a list of policy actions that Minnesota Executive agencies and the Minnesota Legislature can take in order to assist the resettlement process. For example, the State of Florida has taken the initiative to eliminate certain State fees and licensing requirements so that Puerto Rican professionals can begin searching for work in their respective professions.
Based on what is being done in Florida, the following administrative and/or policy steps are recommended:
1. Waiving of application fees for applicants for professions or trades regulated by the State of Minnesota for individuals currently licensed in good standing in Puerto Rico.
2. Waiving licensing application requirements for certain licensed professions: teachers and other school personnel (counselors, etc.).
3. Granting in-state tuition status to students transferring to MN from universities or colleges in PR or for students whose official residency was in PR but were enrolled somewhere else (this to accommodate students who were, for example, studying in the mainland US but now their families are moving to MN and the student wants to be close to their family)
4. Licensing agencies should tabulate their application forms and tests into Spanish.
5. Accepting Puerto Rican driver's licenses and Puerto Rican voter identification cards (tarjeta electoral) as valid identification documents for all MN government-related transactions.
6. Allowing holders of valid PR driver's licenses to obtain a MN driver’s license without having to take a written test (current MN law states that “If you have a valid license from another U.S. state, certain territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Guam,) or Canada, you can obtain a Minnesota driver's license by passing the knowledge (written) test and a vision check. You do not need to take a skills (road) test unless your license has been expired for more than one year.” https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/Pages/drivers-license-information.aspx)
7. For purposes of eligibility for Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), General Assistance (GA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cash assistance program:
• waiver of job search requirements for 60 days after the family applies for the program
• waiver of residence requirements (people “maintaining a home” elsewhere may not be eligible, and families fleeing PR may indeed had left a home there)
• waiver of 60-month Lifetime limit