Coming to America as an immigrant can be difficult — a new country, a new culture and often even a new language. Unfortunately, unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions create barriers for immigrants, making it much more challenging to start lives in America.

Barbering is a common profession for immigrants. Take Amar, a Syrian refugee who has cut hair for about 20 years. When he first arrived in the United States, he knew he wanted to start work as a barber.

But only some people can become a barber. In all states, before you can start cutting hair professionally, you must be approved by the government. A license to practice barbering requires education, training, exams, fees, a clean legal record, and more.

Conor Norris is assistant director and Edward Timmons is director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at West Virginia University. 

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